As with so many industries in Australia and worldwide, the motor industry has been hit hard in 2020 due to the COVID crisis, with new car sales in decline.
When the Federal Government announced wide-ranging social-distancing and containment measures in the face of the escalating COVID-19 pandemic in March, it was always going to be tough for the motor industry in Australia.
Sales fell to 38,926 in April, a 48.5 per cent drop from the previous year. The sharp fall represented the biggest decline of any month in 30 years, and the 25th month of declining sales.
Since then sales have wobbled up and down, with a small spike before the end of the financial year in June offset by another sharp downturn following Victoria’s second lockdown in July. In all though, the Australian car industry has seen sales decline across the board in 2020.
In April, Toyota topped the top-sellers list, with 26.5 per cent market share, posting more than 10,000 sales – a figure down 31.8 per cent on April last year. The company accounted for five of the six top-selling models: HiLux (2,339), RAV4 (1,911), LandCruiser (1,603), Corolla (1,195) and Prado (947). The Ford Ranger came in fourth, with 1,540 sales.
Mazda (3,022), Kia (2,492), Ford (2,251) and Hyundai (2,247) rounded out the top five highest-selling brands.
The picture has been even worse in the UK, where fleet and business new car registrations fell by 96.3 per cent in April compared to the previous year, as dealerships shut their doors due to the pandemic. Since then, there have been calls for a restarting of the industry as up to one in six jobs are said to be under threat.
Addressing the new car sales decline
Despite the downturn, media outlets have reported that it could be a good time for buyers, with manufacturers slashing prices in an effort to boost sales. “Savings of around $2,000 to $3,000 will be seen on popular cars while some top end utes could see savings of up to $8,000 off the RRP,” read a report by 9 News in May.
In the same month, AADA CEO James Voortman said in a media release: “The COVID-19 related restrictions and associated economic anxiety have combined to send the sales of new vehicles off a cliff.
“The effect of these figures on the wider economy should not be underestimated. Passenger cars is Australia’s third biggest import; the industry contributes almost $13 billion to the economy; and dealerships employ nearly 60,000 jobs in cities and country towns across the nation.”