Sales of new vehicles in Australia declined by 1.5 per cent in October to 81,220 units, compared to the same month in 2019.

    But considering sales year-to-date (YTD) are down 18.8 per cent to 726,111 vehicles, it’s clear that this is a much better result than we’ve been seeing during the rest of the COVID-19 crisis.

    Sales remained low in lockdown-affected Victoria (down 28.3 per cent), as well as Tasmania (down 16.1 per cent). But for most of Australia, the market is recovering strongly.

    The Australian Capital Territory (up 28.1 per cent), New South Wales (up 6.2 per cent), the Northern Territory (up 27.7 per cent), Queensland (up 11.7 per cent), South Australia (up 14.5 per cent), and Western Australia (up 17 per cent) went in a positive direction.

    “The green shoots that we are seeing in October give us great hope that we may begin to see further recovery during the coming months,” said Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) CEO Tony Weber.

    Key points:

    • Market showing growth, outside of Victoria and Tasmania, but not enough to be in positive territory. Now 31 successive months of sales decline
    • Toyota dominant with 24 per cent market share, and five of the top 10 models
    • Toyota HiLux, Ford Ranger, Toyota RAV4, Toyota Prado, and Toyota Corolla the top five
    • Hybrids, PHEVs and EVs all up over October 2019 tallies
    • The private market up 10 per cent, while business and government fleets down
    • SUVs take more than 50 per cent total market share
    • Sales of cars imported from China more than doubled over October 2019’s tally


    Toyota dominated, growing its monthly sales over October 2019 by nearly 15 per cent to 19,505. In doing so, it captured a remarkable 24 per cent total market share – thanks to big yields from the RAV4, Prado, LandCruiser, and HiLux.

    Mazda finished second and grew its sales by an impressive 17.1 per cent, though its volume was barely a third of Toyota’s. Hyundai kept third place despite a 20.2 per cent sales decline – though we’d caveat this by saying it’s gearing up for an enormous rollout of new and updated models, and a lag beforehand is expected.

    Other large-volume manufacturers that grew their sales included Ford (up 17.4 per cent), Kia (up 4.8 per cent), Isuzu Ute (up 15.7 per cent thanks to the new D-Max , demand for which is exceeding supply), BMW (up 3.2 per cent), Audi (up 18.9 per cent), Skoda (up 14.8 per cent), Jeep (up an impressive 40.7 per cent), and Porsche (up 32.7 per cent).

    Furthermore, sales of vehicles from China in October were 3383, up 111.2 per cent (so, more than double). Chinese brands include MG (1680 sales, up 120 per cent), LDV (1117, up 123 per cent), Haval (291 sales, up 48 per cent) and Great Wall (127, down 1.6 per cent, but set to launch a brand new ute this month).

    Brands that battled for the month included Jaguar (down 56 per cent), Citroen (down 50 per cent), Land Rover (down 30.7 per cent), Lexus (down 27.1 per cent), Honda (down 26.4 per cent), Volkswagen (down 26.3 per cent), Subaru (down 12.1 per cent), Nissan (down 11.8 per cent), Mercedes-Benz (down 9.4 per cent), and Mitsubishi (down 6.3 per cent).

    Is your brand of choice not listed? Ask in the comments and I’ll get you the figures.

    Top 25 brands – October 2020

    Mercedes-Benz 2930-9.4%
    Isuzu Ute2252+15.7%
    Volvo Car703+1.2%
    Land Rover383-30.7%


    The top-performing vehicle segments by market share were Medium SUVs (20.2 per cent share overall), 4×4 Utes (16.4 per cent), Small SUVs (12.5 per cent), Large SUVs (11.8 per cent), and Small Cars (11.4 per cent). These five segments accounted for more than 70 per cent the total market.

    Of the top 20 models, there were three utes (including the top two in HiLux and Ranger), one van/bus (Toyota HiAce), 11 SUVs/4x4s, four small cars, and one mid-size car.

    Top 20 models – October 2020

    Toyota HiLux 4444+26.4%
    Ford Ranger 4217+33.4%
    Toyota RAV44084+91.6%
    Toyota Prado2207+45.9%
    Toyota Corolla1943-8.2%
    Isuzu D-Max1932+51.5%
    Mazda CX-51912+11.9%
    Hyundai Tucson1678-0.9%
    Toyota LandCruiser wagon1640+23.8%
    Kia Cerato 1619-11.4%
    Hyundai i301431-35.4%
    Nissan X-Trail1283-19.4%
    Subaru Forester1274+1.8%
    Mazda 31273-10%
    Toyota Camry 1263-16.1%
    Toyota HiAce 1239+44.7%
    Mazda CX-31233+1.4%
    Kia Seltos 1214+578.2%
    Mitsubishi Outlander 1150+35.3%
    Hyundai Kona1130-17.3%

    If we delve a little more into segments, we find the top three models for each looks like:

    Passenger cars

    Micro Kia Picanto – 401Fiat 500 – 63Mitsubishi Mirage – 22
    Light < $25kMG 3 – 872Mazda 2 – 424Kia Rio – 379
    Light > $25kMini – 177Audi A1 – 36Citroen C3 – 2
    Small < $40kToyota Corolla – 1943Kia Cerato – 1619Hyundai i30 – 1431
    Small > $40kMercedes A-Class – 350Audi A3 – 338BMW 1 Series – 110
    Medium < $60kToyota Camry – 1263Skoda Octavia – 230Mazda 6 – 146
    Medium > $60kMercedes C-Class – 312BMW 3 Series – 272Mercedes CLA – 172
    Large < $70kKia Stinger – 137Holden Commodore – 81Skoda Superb – 30 
    Large > $70kMercedes E-Class – 58BMW 5 Series – 48Mercedes CLS – 41
    Upper Large Mercedes S-Class – 46BMW 7 Series – 9BMW 8 Series GC – 7
    People Movers Kia Carnival – 286Honda Odyssey – 87Hyundai iMax – 73
    Sports < $80kFord Mustang – 185Subaru BRZ – 62Hyundai Veloster – 60
    Sports > $80kMercedes C-Class – 69Mercedes E-Class – 52Toyota Supra – 20 
    Sports > $200kPorsche 911 – 39Ferrari range – 22Lamborghini 2-drs – 11

    SUVs and LCVs

    Light SUVMazda CX-3 – 1233Hyundai Venue – 418Suzuki Jimny – 372
    Small SUV < $40kKia Seltos – 1214Hyundai Kona – 1130Mitsubishi ASX – 1119
    Small SUV > $40kAudi Q3 – 346Mercedes GLA- 319Volvo XC40 – 273
    Medium SUV < $60kToyota RAV4 – 4084Mazda CX-5 – 1912Hyundai Tucson – 1678
    Medium SUV > $60kBMW X3/4 – 539Mercedes GLC – 399Volvo XC60 – 309
    Large SUV < $70kToyota Prado – 2207Ford Everest – 601Mazda CX-9 – 597
    Large SUV > $70kBMW X5/6 – 356Mercedes GLE – 261Audi Q7 – 136
    Upper Large SUV < $100kToyota LandCruiser – 1640Nissan Patrol – 373
    Upper Large SUV > $100kBMW X7 – 65Land Rover Discovery – 51Mercedes GLS – 49
    Light buses Toyota HiAce – 190Iveco Daily – 5Mercedes Sprinter – 3
    Vans < 2.5tVolkswagen Caddy – 174Renault Kangoo – 25Peugeot Partner – 19
    Vans 2.5t – 3.5tToyota HiAce – 1049Hyundai iLoad – 649LDV G10 – 264
    Vans + 3.5tMercedes Sprinter – 167Volkswagen Crafter – 153Renault Master – 130
    4×2 UtesToyota HiLux – 1038Isuzu D-Max – 602Ford Ranger – 409
    4×4 UtesFord Ranger – 3808Toyota HiLux – 3406Isuzu D-Max – 1330


    It was private buyers driving the sales improvement, with units counted in this sector up 10 per cent. Business fleet sales fell 3.0 per cent, government fleet sales fell 6.5 per cent, and rental car sales fell 58.2 per cent.

    There were 44,735 petrol vehicles and 27,244 diesel vehicles sold. Hybrid cars (5801) grew by 111 per cent, electric vehicles (186) grew 5.1 per cent – note, this figure excludes Tesla which does not disclose its sales data – and plug-in hybrids grew 104.1 per cent to 200 units.


    “After a very challenging year, we are seeing ‘green shoots’ in the Australian new vehicle market,” said FCAI CEO Tony Weber.

    “Every state and territory except Victoria and Tasmania have seen significant growth and, given the circumstances, Victoria’s result is seen as encouraging.”

    “These results mark the 31st month of decreasing sales for the industry, which has experienced a series of financial and market challenges during the period,” Weber continued.

    “However, the green shoots that we are seeing in October give us great hope that we may begin to see further recovery during the coming months.”

    “Nationally, the state of industry operations is returning to normal as COVID-19 restrictions ease. Additionally, Government initiatives such as a constructive budget that included the instant asset write off, along with more accessible finance for consumers, is also acting as a welcome stimulus for the industry.”

    “Electrified vehicles also experienced a surge during the month, more than doubling in their total sales compared to October 2019. This shows that Australian consumers are willing to explore new drive train technologies.”

    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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