It looks like sales of new vehicles in Australia are on the rebound, as data for October shows – despite an overall market decline of 1.5 per cent.

    That’s certainly true once you exclude the country’s second most populous state, Victoria, from the calculations. But why would we do that?

    In short, a COVID-19 outbreak in the capital Melbourne led the government to order all metropolitan car dealers to close. They re-opened on October 28.

    While contactless sales are available in market, this clearly caused sales across Victoria to plummet. Indeed, they were down 28 per cent in October.

    But let’s look at other states and territories, all of which bar Tasmania grew significantly.

    There’s 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), which all went in a positive direction.

    All told, if you hypothetically remove Victoria from the equation, Australia’s new vehicle sales grew by almost 10 per cent in October 2020 compared to the same month in 2019.

    With dealerships back up and running in Melbourne, it would be reasonable to project that the run of 31 successive sales decreases might end in November. It does look that way, anyhow.

    “After a very challenging year, we are seeing ‘green shoots’ in the Australian new vehicle market,” said Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (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.”

    RegionOctober 2020 salesOctober 2019 salesChange
    NT 733574+27.7%

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    Mike Costello
    Mike Costello is a Senior Contributor at CarExpert.
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