Sales of new cars in Australia fell by 21.8 per cent in September this year, compared to the same month in 2019.

    VFACTS data supplied by car brands and cross-checked by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries claims that 68,985 new cars, SUVs and commercials found homes last month.

    This brings the year-to-date (YTD) tally for 2020 to 644,891 sales, down 20.5 per cent on last year. The last time cumulative YTD sales were this low at the end of September was way back in 2002.

    We have also seen 30 consecutive months of decreasing sales.

    It was business as usual on the top-selling brand front, with Toyota, Mazda and Hyundai occupying the podium – though Kia was not far off.

    VFACTS: New vehicles sales results September 2020

    Normality also resumed in terms of models, with the Ford Ranger and Toyota HiLux ute returning to the top of the table after some upgrades.

    Victoria accounted for the majority of the sales drop, on account of COVID-19 restrictions across the metro area that saw dealerships shuttered. Sales in the second-most populous state totalled 10,447 units, down 57.7 per cent (equivalent to 14,239 cars).

    Sales also declined in New South Wales (down 6.0 per cent, equivalent to 1668 cars), South Australia (down 22.1 per cent or 1468 cars), Queensland (down 7.9 per cent or 1386 cars), and Tasmania (down 34.2 per cent or 659 cars).

    On a more positive note, sales grew in September 2020 over the same month last year in Western Australia (up 1.5 per cent, equivalent to 115 cars), Northern Territory (up 10.6 per cent or 64 cars), and the ACT (up 3.4 per cent or 45 cars).


    Toyota topped the charts, and grew its market share to 18.8 per cent, because the percentage by which its September sales declined was lower than the market’s average. It also sold four of the top 10 models.

    Mazda finished a clear second, ahead of Hyundai which held onto third despite sales falling by 27.2 per cent. Sister brand Kia nipped at its heels, losing just 0.7 per cent in volume and thereby taking its market share from 5.8 per cent in September 2019 to 7.4 per cent in September 2020.

    Ford finished fifth and actually increased its sales by 0.7 per cent, Mitsubishi finished sixth despite sales falling 53.5 per cent (we suspect cuts in fleet sales across the board, particularly in rental cars, played a big role here), and Volkswagen managed seventh.

    Mercedes-Benz, Nissan and Subaru rounded out the top 10, edging out BMW, Honda, and China’s MG, up a remarkable 86 per cent to finish 13th.

    There were other brands that defied the odds and grew sales in September, principally: LDV (up 36 per cent), Skoda (up 29.3 per cent), Porsche (up 32.9 per cent), Haval (up 70.5 per cent), Mini (up 13.5 per cent), Great Wall (up 74.1 per cent), and Alfa Romeo (up 61 per cent).

    BrandSales% Change +/-
    Isuzu Ute1546-24.5
    Volvo Car661-6.5
    Land Rover339-50.4
    Great Wall249+74.1
    Alfa Romeo95+61.0
    Maserati 53+103.8
    Genesis 28+833.3
    Ferrari 25+8.7
    Chrysler14No change
    Aston Martin9-25.0


    The Ford Ranger topped the charts, ahead of the HiLux. As stocks of the updated models build up, we’d expect this to become an entrenched reality once again.

    The Toyota RAV4 was again the nation’s favourite SUV, while the Hyundai i30 was the number one passenger car as the current model gears up for runout ahead of the arrival of an update in a few months time.

    The leading model segments by market share were Medium SUV (17.8 per cent), 4×4 Utes (17.6), Small Cars (13.8), Small SUV (12.7), Large SUV (11.1).

    ModelSales% Change +/-
    Ford Ranger3726+19.6
    Toyota HiLux3610+7.3
    Toyota RAV42433+41.8
    Hyundai i301786-27.0
    Mazda CX-51765-25.1
    Kia Cerato 1599-20.9
    Toyota Corolla1462-34.1
    Mitsubishi Triton1446-51.8
    Hyundai Tucson1199-19.4
    Toyota Camry1192+0.5
    Mazda CX-31188-9.8
    Mazda 31134-33.1
    Isuzu D-Max1118-16.9
    Kia Seltos1089New model
    Nissan Navara1072-3.8
    Hyundai Kona1036-17.4
    Toyota LandCruiser Wagons990+3.1
    Mitsubishi ASX940-61.1
    Volkswagen Golf924-17.4
    Nissan X-Trail888-49.8

    If we look at the main vehicle segments, we find the top three models in each looks like this:

    Passenger segments

    Vehicle typeFirstSecondThird
    Micro Kia Picanto – 357Fiat 500 – 34Mitsubishi Mirage – 34
    Light < $25kMG 3 – 809Mazda 2 – 471Kia Rio – 388
    Light > $25kMini – 146Audi A1 – 30Renault Zoe – 9
    Small < $40k Hyundai i30 – 1786Kia Cerato – 1599Toyota Corolla – 1462
    Small > $40kMB A-Class – 460Audi A3 – 262BMW 1 Series – 235
    Medium < $60kToyota Camry – 1192Skoda Octavia – 227Mazda 6 – 152
    Medium > $60kMB C-Class – 283BMW 3 Series – 241MB CLA – 213
    Large < $70kKia Stinger – 179Skoda Superb – 28Chrysler 300 – 14
    Large > $70kMB E-Class – 93BMW 5 Series – 51Audi A6 – 23
    Upper LargeBMW 7 Series – 11MB S-Class – 9BMW 8 Series GC – 8
    People MoversKia Carnival – 237Honda Odyssey – 69LDV G10 – 67
    Sports < $80kFord Mustang – 145Mazda MX-5 – 54Hyundai Veloster – 49
    Sports > $80kMB E-Class 2-dr – 97MB C-Class 2-dr – 94BMW 4 Series – 23
    Sports > $200kPorsche 911 – 62Ferrari range – 25Astin Martin 2-dr – 9

    SUV and Light Commercial segments:

    Vehicle typeFirstSecondThird
    LightMazda CX-3 – 1188Hyundai Venue – 365VW T-Cross – 364
    Small < $40kKia Seltos – 1089Hyundai Kona – 1036Mitsubishi ASX – 940
    Small > $40kAudi Q3 – 362BMW X1 – 351Volvo XC40 – 293
    Medium < $60kToyota RAV4 – 2433Mazda CX-5 – 1765Hyundai Tucson – 1199
    Medium > $60kBMW X3 – 407MB GLC – 295Volvo XC60 – 273
    Large < $70kToyota Prado – 820Mazda CX-9 – 624Kia Sorento – 569
    Large > $70kBMW X5 – 212MB GLE – 190Audi Q7 – 137
    Upper Large < $100kToyota L’Cruiser – 990Nissan Patrol – 190
    Upper Large > $100kAudi Q8 – 71BMW X7 – 67Land Rover Disco – 50
    Vans <= 2.5tVW Caddy – 128Renault Kangoo – 50Peugeot Partner – 24
    Vans 2.5t – 3.5tToyota HiAce – 442Hyundai iLoad – 249LDV G10 – 143
    Vans 3.5t – 8tMB Sprinter – 195Renault Master – 177VW Crafter – 96
    Utes 4×2Toyota HiLux – 820Ford Ranger – 272Isuzu D-Max – 262
    Ute 4×4Ford Ranger – 3454Toyota HiLux – 2790Mitsu Triton – 1234


    • SUVs accounted for 47.3 per cent market share, passenger cars 25.7 per cent, light commercials 22.9 per cent, and trucks/heavy buses 4.1 per cent.
    • Private car sales declined 9.8 per cent to 34,234, business fleets declined 24.4 per cent (27,580), rental car sales declined 70.5 per cent (2258), and government purchases declined 29.4 per cent (2067).
    • Petrol-powered cars sold totalled 39,926 (down 27.7 per cent), diesel totalled 21,539 (down 21.1 per cent), hybrid car sales were 4389 (up 110.8 per cent), BEVs excluding non-VFACTS-participant Tesla totalled 161 (up 5.2 per cent), and PHEVs totalled 124 (up 6.9 per cent).
    • The main sources of cars sold in Australia during September 2020 were Japan (20,528, down 24.8 per cent), Thailand (15,862, down 29.5 per cent), Korea (10,481, down 16.2 per cent), Germany (5077, down 22.7 per cent), and China (3220, up 71.6 per cent thanks to MG, LDV and Haval, and models like the Volvo XC60).


    FCAI CEO Tony Weber

    “First of all, we are seeing COVID-19 health restrictions across Australia, and particularly in metropolitan Melbourne, continue to ease.

    “Another sign that the market may improve is the announcement by the Federal Government last week of an easing of lending conditions for private buyers and small business in Australia.

    “Freeing up restrictions around financial lending will act as a stimulus for Australian industry.”

    MORE: Check our our archive of VFACTS and industry sales content

    If you have any questions – perhaps you want to know how your car did – ask in the comments and a member of the CarExpert team will respond.

    Mike Costello
    Mike Costello is a Senior Contributor at CarExpert.
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