As the coronavirus pandemic hit the world in December 2019 and sent most countries imposing lockdowns, we have seen the sharpest decline in the performance of various industries in a decade. July new car sales in Australia again went down to a 12.8% decline compared to last year, same month.
What is more interesting than this pattern is the fact that Toyota RAV4 sold the greatest number of vehicles in July and made it to the top of the sales chart this year in Australia for the first time in 26 years! It even overtook Toyota HiLux, which has been Australia's favourite vehicle for the past 3 years.
What brought about this change?
As the 2020 Toyota RAV4 takes the first place in the sales chart, does this signal a significant turn for the country's automotive industry?
We have seen an increased trend of consumers switching from sedans to SUVs, which comprise 50.4% of the 2020 July new car sales in Australia compared to 45.5% in 2019. While there is indeed a trend, it is not the sole factor influencing this surprising new turn.
In June, we saw a hike in the demand for utes and vans, where the top-selling brands Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger sold 6,537 and 5,329 vehicles, respectively. Since then, the industry has struggled to fulfil this upsurge in demand and run low on stock in July 2020.
The gap in stock and demand uptick grew even wider with the production halts and slowdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
As the increased stock came in to fulfil orders for the past 10 months, Toyota RAV4 orders were completed, and not long after, it topped the new car sales for 2020 July in Australia.
What was the total new car sales for July 2020 in Australia?
A total of 514,920 vehicles were sold till the 31st of July 2020 from the start of the year, which is a 19.2% decline compared to combined seven months last year. Out of this cumulative total, 72,505 vehicles were sold in July 2020, which is a 12.8% decline from the same month last year with 83,184 total units sold.
Will Toyota ever be defeated as the market leader?
Toyota, once again, maintained its lead as the top market player, selling a total of 15,508 vehicles in July 2020. However, even the market leader has seen a 32% decline in sales compared to the total of 22,867 Toyotas sold in June this year.
Toyota is followed by Mazda and Mitsubishi with a total of 7,806 and 4,684 vehicles, respectively, bagging the second and third place. Hyundai and Kia have also been putting up good competition with each other by coming in at fourth and fifth, selling 4,634 and 4,625 vehicles, respectively.
Bestselling car models in Australia for July 2020
As trends have predicted, the SUV segment has been the largest part of the automotive sector and accounted for 50.4% of the market share in July 2020.
Unlike last month where Toyota HiLux took the lead by selling 6,537 vehicles, this month has been in line with the trend of a shift to SUVs. Toyota RAV4 has taken the lead with a total of 4,309 cars which is a 78.1% year-on-year increase.
Completing the Top 10 Bestselling Car Models in Australia for July 2020 are the following:
Ford Ranger and Toyota HiLux continue to enjoy their popularity in the market yet have also been significantly affected by stock shortage. Nevertheless, both managed to rank second and third in the new car sales for July 2020. It has always been a tough fight between the two, and this month is no exception. The Aussie-engineered Ranger slightly edged its strongest rival, selling 3,104 units with the HiLux selling 2,947 units.
On their heels are Toyota Corolla (2,192), Hyundai i30 (1,745), Mazda CX-5 (1,727), Mitsubishi Triton (1,593), Mazda CX-3 (1,355), Toyota Camry (1,281) and Mazda3 (1,224).
New Car Sales – Is RAV4 the next market leader?
It is too soon to say if RAV4 as an individual model is going to take over Australia’s new car sales market since this change has been brought about by several temporary factors. The increase in the overall market pie of SUVs has been very promising, and RAV4 has taken the lion's share in this segment. However, things can change and will likely change, especially with the prevailing volatile conditions brought about by the pandemic.
With Toyota HiLux having the highest combined sales in the first seven months of 2020, we can’t yet see another model capable of outdoing that and taking over this year as a whole. Looking at the new car sales for July 2020 in Australia, surely, we will have to observe the trends for another year or so to come to a concrete conclusion regarding this new turn.
Let's see if RAV4 remains the leader next month or if July was just a fluke that worked in its favour. Come back to us next month for the August new car sales updates!
By Wajeeha S.