Australia’s new car sales came back with a vengeance in March 2021, as the economy picks up speed.
March 2021 sales totalled 100,005 units, up 22.4 per cent over the same month last year. It was the best March tally since 2018, according to the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries’ (FCAI) VFACTS database.
By most accounts the figure would have been even higher if dealerships nationwide weren’t hampered by lack of new-car stock – a trickle effect of car factories worldwide being shut down during COVID-19 lockdowns.
Each and every State or Territory grew sales by between 19.1 per cent (Victoria) and 43.4 per cent (NT), with the exception of the ACT which actually saw its sales go backwards after it managed a stronger 2020 than other regions.
As we have seen become a recent trend, it’s the private-buyer market doing the heavy lifting. It grew 26.4 per cent and comprised 51 per cent of the total market. Business sales (ABN buyers and fleets) grew 15 per cent, rental sales grew 55.7 per cent, and government sales declined 21.7 per cent.
Market leader Toyota grew its volume by 21.2 per cent over the corresponding month last year, and its 21,319 monthly sales equated to 21.3 per cent market share.
Mazda in second (as usual) had a ripper month by growing 58 per cent to 10,785 units, ahead of Hyundai with 6852 sales and 29.1 per cent growth.
Rounding out the top 10 were Mitsubishi (up 7 per cent), Ford (up 23 per cent), Kia (up 2.6 per cent, but I’ll point out that it had a stronger March 2020 than most), Nissan (up 30 per cent), Subaru (up 39 per cent), Volkswagen (up 17 per cent), and MG (up 168 per cent).
It’s the second month in succession that MG has finished inside the overall top 10. That’s meteoric growth.
Almost all the car brands grew for the month, but some other standouts included LDV (up 188 per cent), Jeep (resurgent, up a whopping 183 per cent), GWM/Haval (up 173 per cent), Skoda (up 147.5 per cent), SsangYong (up 133 per cent), and Renault (119 per cent).
There were also good results for many premium players including Genesis (up a whopping 260 per cent off a tiny base), Volvo Car (up 162 per cent), Mini (up 89 per cent), Audi (up 77 per cent), BMW (up 57 per cent), Porsche (up 52 per cent), and Lexus (up 42 per cent).
Luxury leader Mercedes-Benz ‘only’ grew its volume by 1.5 per cent overall, or by 9 per cent if you just count its passenger cars and SUVs and ignore the commercial vans.
There was a subset of brands that went backwards for the month, including Jaguar (down 47 per cent, though it claims this is partly due to tight supply), Mercedes-Benz Vans (down 32 per cent), and Honda (down 24 per cent as it prepares to launch a new business strategy explained here).
See the full breakdown below.
March 2021 sales by brand, compared with sales from March 2020:
|Brand||March sales||% change over March 2020|
|GWM and Haval||1021||173.0%|
There weren’t too many surprises in terms of top-selling models. The Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger utes went one-two, ahead of the Toyota RAV4 and Mazda CX-5 mid-size SUVs, and Toyota Corolla and Hyundai i30 small cars.
Rounding out the top 10 were the Mitsubishi Triton ute, Toyota LandCruiser wagon range (including 70 Series wagon and Troopie, and 200 Series), Isuzu D-Max, and Nissan X-Trail.
If we break down the top 30, there are 17 models classified as SUVs, eight classified as light commercial utes or vans, and five passenger vehicles.
March 2021 sales by model, compared with sales from March 2020:
|Model||March sales||% change over March 2020|
|Toyota LandCruiser wagon||2244||78.0%|
|Toyota LandCruiser ute||1148||56.2%|
|Toyota HiAce van and bus||1106||46.8%|
|Mitsubishi Pajero Sport||886||32.2%|
We can also identify the most popular models in each vehicle segment, as defined by the FCAI in its VFACTS data.
- Micro Cars: Kia Picanto (550), Mitsubishi Mirage (156), Fiat 500 (56)
- Light Cars under $25,000: MG 3 (1238), Toyota Yaris (636), Suzuki Swift (471)
- Light Cars over $25,000: Mini (107), Audi A1 (105), Citroen C3 (8)
- Small Cars under $40,000: Toyota Corolla (2892), Hyundai i30 (2514), Mazda 3 (1577)
- Small Cars over $40,000: Mercedes-Benz A-Class (358), BMW 1 Series (340), BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe (222)
- Medium Cars under $60,000: Toyota Camry (852), Mazda 6 (144), Skoda Octavia (112)
- Medium Cars over $60,000: BMW 3 Series (567), Mercedes-Benz C-Class (364), Lexus IS (148)
- Large Cars under $70,000: Kia Stinger (173), Skoda Superb (66)
- Large Cars over $70,000: Porsche Taycan (161), Mercedes-Benz E-Class (155), BMW 5 Series (31)
- Upper Large Cars: Mercedes-Benz S-Class (47), BMW 7 Series (20), Chrysler 300 (13)
- People Movers: Kia Carnival (616), Honda Odyssey (162), Volkswagen Multivan (121)
- Sports Cars under $80,000: Ford Mustang (130), BMW 2 Series (72), Toyota 86 (65)
- Sports Cars over $80,000: Mercedes-Benz C-Class (139), BMW 4 Series (110), Mercedes-Benz E-Class (43)
- Sports Cars over $200,000: Porsche 911 (28), Ferrari range (13), Aston Martin two-door range (10)
- Light SUVs: Mazda CX-3 (1744), Toyota Yaris Cross (846), Volkswagen T-Cross (655)
- Small SUVs under $40,000: MG ZS (1510), Hyundai Kona (1462), Mazda CX-30 (1225)
- Small SUVs over $40,000: Audi Q3 (852), Volvo XC40 (416), BMW X1 (279)
- Medium SUVs under $60,000: Toyota RAV4 (3522), Mazda CX-5 (3022), Nissan X-Trail (1932)
- Medium SUVs over $60,000: Mercedes-Benz GLB (607), Volvo XC60 (422), Mercedes-Benz GLC (374)
- Large SUVs under $70,000: Subaru Outback (1341), Toyota Prado (1211), Isuzu MU-X (1179)
- Large SUVs over $70,000: BMW X5 (309), Lexus RX (185), Range Rover Sport (181)
- Upper Large SUVs under $100,000: Toyota LandCruiser (2244), Nissan Patrol (305)
- Upper Large SUVs over $100,000: BMW X7 (72), Lexus LX (67), Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen (49)
- Light Vans: Renault Kangoo (50), Volkswagen Caddy (45), Peugeot Partner (24)
- Medium Vans: Toyota HiAce (884), Hyundai iLoad (447), Renault Trafic (311)
- Large Vans: Mercedes-Benz Sprinter (200), Ford Transit Heavy (198), Volkswagen Crafter (150)
- Light Buses: Toyota HiAce (222), Renault Master (39), Toyota Coaster (17)
- 4×2 Utes: Toyota HiLux (1251), Isuzu D-Max (656), Ford Ranger (273)
- 4×4 Utes: Toyota HiLux (4068), Ford Ranger (3710), Mitsubishi Triton (2223)
Sales by region:
- NSW: 32,499, up 22.1 per cent
- Victoria: 25,800, up 19.1 per cent
- Queensland: 21,558, up 32.7 per cent
- WA: 9514, up 30.5 per cent
- SA: 6389, up 28 per cent
- ACT: 1663, down 43.8 per cent
- Tasmania: 1634, up 30 per cent
- NT: 918, up 43.4 per cent
Dominant segments by overall market share:
- Medium SUV: 18.1 per cent
- 4×4 Utes: 17.4 per cent
- Small SUV: 13.5 per cent
- Large SUV: 11.7 per cent
- Small Cars: 10.9 per cent
Sales breakdown by buyer:
- Private: 51,9062, up 26.4 per cent
- Business: 35,902, up 15 per cent
- Rental: 6991, up 55.7 per cent
- Government: 2365, down 21.7 per cent
Sales breakdown by fuel type:
- Petrol: 56,847, up 17.1 per cent
- Diesel: 32,228, up 25.8 per cent
- Hybrid: 6548, up 41.4 per cent
- EV excluding Tesla: 411, up 152.1 per cent
- PHEV: 286, up 101.4 per cent
Sales breakdown by top import sources:
- Japan: 35,721, up 31.8 per cent
- Thailand: 21,771, up 3.1 per cent
- Korea: 13,176, up 13 per cent
- China: 6064, up 185.1 per cent
- Germany: 3988, down 20.4 per cent
FCAI chief executive Tony Weber:
“It is possible that the result could have been even stronger if some brands had not been impacted by delivery constraints in global factory supply chains.
“It is our expectation that these delivery issues will continue to be resolved during the coming months.”
- February 2021 Australian new vehicle sales (VFACTS)
- January 2021 Australian new vehicle sales (VFACTS)
- December 2020 Australian new vehicle sales (VFACTS)
- November 2020 Australian new vehicle sales (VFACTS)
- October 2020 Australian new vehicle sales (VFACTS)
- September 2020 Australian new vehicle sales (VFACTS)
- August 2020 Australian new vehicle sales (VFACTS)
- July 2020 Australian new vehicle sales (VFACTS)
- June 2020 Australian new vehicle sales (VFACTS)
- May 2020 Australian new vehicle sales (VFACTS)
- April 2020 Australian new vehicle sales (VFACTS)
- March 2020 Australian new vehicle sales (VFACTS)
Got any questions about car sales? Ask away in the comments and I’ll jump in!