VFACTS: April a record month for new car sales

Best April since 2017 despite global semiconductor shortages

Ford Ranger Toyota Hilux

The Australian new-car market has set a new April sales record as it continues to rebound from the Covid-19 pandemic and defy a global parts shortage.

Last month’s 92,347 vehicle sales surpassed the country’s previous best April in 2016, when 87,571 units were sold.

Sales are up 137 per cent compared with the same month last year, though April 2020 was the first month to be heavily affected by the then emerging pandemic.

A year-to-date increase of 31 per cent is a stronger indicator of the market’s progress, with 355,995 vehicle registrations only 6485 sales short of the January-April period of 2017 that contributed to Australia’s record year.

Ford Ranger
The Ford Ranger was April's reigning champion for only the third time ever

The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) expects the new-car market to continue growing for the rest of 2021.

“New vehicles sales are a direct reflection of the performance of the broader economy in terms of consumer and business confidence,” said FCAI chief executive Tony Weber. “This time last year we were seeing significant impacts from COVID-19 with less customer activity and inquiries to dealerships.

“Historically, the April result is between 70,000 and 80,000 vehicles, so the 2021 result is very significant. This sales trend is expected to continue as we enter the final two months of the financial year.”

Australia’s vehicle imports have yet to be significantly affected by the global shortage of semiconductors, the essential computer chips that are the ‘brains’ of vehicle electronics.

SUVs again dominated the market, with 49,176 sales, and light-commercial vehicles continued their 2021 trend by out-selling passenger cars – 21,714 versus 18,064.

Hilux1
The HiLux was knocked off top spot

4x4 Utes were Australia’s most popular vehicle type last month, accounting for 17,099 units to edge out Medium SUVs that registered 16,686 sales.

Small SUVs (13,217 units) and Large SUVs (11,074 units) were the two other vehicle segments to hit five-digit figures in April.

Light SUV was the sixth most popular segment with 5079 units and is Australia’s fastest-growing vehicle category with 132 per cent growth year to date.

Micro cars – very much a micro segment with just three vehicles and 746 sales in April – is the second-fastest-growing area, with the Kia Picanto and Mitsubishi Mirage largely responsible for a 102 per cent year-to-date increase.

The 2.5-3.5-tonne Van category is the third with 88 per cent growth, though for now it remains outside the top 10 individual vehicle segments.

Small-car sales sit fifth in the list with 8282 units, though their decline continues – down eight per cent compared with the same period last year.

Mazda CX-5
Mazda was the second-highest selling brand in April

Australian new car market: Best Aprils

  1. 2021 - 92,347
  2. 2016 - 87,571
  3. 2013 - 85,117
  4. 2008 - 84,061
  5. 2017 - 83,135 (Currently the record year overall)
  6. 2018 - 82,930
  7. 2015 - 81,656
  8. 2010 - 81,401
  9. 2014 - 80,710
  10. 2012 - 79,097
Toyota Corolla
The Toyota Corolla was still in the top 10

Top 10 models

The Ford Ranger was Australia’s favourite vehicle in April, displacing the country’s usual No.1 the Toyota HiLux.

Ford sold 5021 Rangers last month to repeat a feat it last achieved in September 2020. The HiLux (4222 sales) was also overtaken last month by another Toyota after the RAV4 medium SUV registered 4506 sales.

Remarkable demand continues for the outgoing Toyota LandCruiser SUV as buyers snap up the last ever V8 model. The vehicle placed fourth in April with 2595 sales.

The Mitsubishi Triton and Isuzu D-Max retained their customary places in the Top 10 chart.

Mazda’s mid-sized SUV, the CX-5, continues its stellar 2021, with year-to-date growth at 53 per cent for a model that has always been popular.

Although the Toyota Corolla and Hyundai i30 also remain in a monthly Top 10 chart, both small cars dropped down the order and outside the top six for the first time this year.

Mitsubishi’s ASX continues to defy its age, appearing in the Top 10 for the second time in 2021 (and a place higher than it finished in February).

Despite the Ranger’s heroics in April, the HiLux still has a clear lead in the overall 2021 sales race.

Toyota RAV-4 Cruiser
The Toyota RAV4 placed second in April

Top 10 models – April 2021

  1. FORD RANGER - 5021 - up 226%
  2. TOYOTA RAV4 - 4506 - up 135.8%
  3. TOYOTA HILUX - 4222 - up 80.5%
  4. TOYOTA LANDCRUISER - 2595 - up 180.8%
  5. MITSUBISHI TRITON - 2458 - up 424.1%
  6. MAZDA CX-5 - 2353 - up 263.1%
  7. TOYOTA COROLLA - 2073 - up 73.5%
  8. MITSUBISHI ASX - 2028 - up 482.8%
  9. HYUNDAI i30 - 2005 - up 188.5%
  10. ISUZU D-MAX - 1999 - up 163%

Top 10 models – Year to date 2021

  1. TOYOTA HILUX - 18,262
  2. FORD RANGER - 15,024
  3. TOYOTA RAV4 - 13,844
  4. MAZDA CX-5 - 9504    
  5. TOYOTA COROLLA - 9454
  6. HYUNDAI i30 - 8681    
  7. MITSUBISHI TRITON - 8619
  8. TOYOTA LANDCRUISER - 7664    
  9. ISUZU D-MAX - 7580    
  10. MAZDA CX-3 - 6246

In charts             

APRIL 2021 - TOP 10 MODELS & GROWTH

Triton1
Mitsubishi Triton sales are still going strong

Top 10 brands

Mitsubishi was one of the big movers in April, ousting Hyundai from its usual third spot courtesy of 7513 vehicle registrations.

Hyundai’s lowest monthly result so far in 2021 (5772 sales) allowed Mitsubishi to also move in behind leader Toyota and second-placed Mazda in the year-to-date table.

Mitsubishi models performed consistently well last month, contributing to 333 per cent growth that’s impressive even when being compared with Covid-hit April 2020.

Aside from the ASX and Triton occupying their usual positions in the Top 10 Vehicles chart, the Mirage micro car (up 495 per cent month on month), Pajero 4WD (up 396 per cent) and Eclipse Cross SUV (up 205 per cent) were all notable.

Hyundai also slipped to fifth in April’s Top 10, with Ford (7146 units) moving into fourth. Ford enjoyed a 218 per cent month-on-month increase compared with 157 per cent for Hyundai.

Ford’s year-to-date growth is now up to 42 per cent, with Hyundai also going well at 31 per cent.

April 2021 - Top 10 brands YTD (Infogram funnel chart)

2018-Hyundai-i30N.jpg
The Hyundai i30 was still in the top 10 chart

Sister brand Kia, Nissan and Toyota have similar growth so far in 2021 – each up by 27 or 28 per cent.

Subaru’s excellent 2021 continues – up 169 per cent when comparing April 2021 with April 2020, and year-to-date growth at 48 per cent.

The latest-generation Outback continues to hit the ground running, the only other Subaru besides the Forester to register 1000-plus sales last month.

MG achieved a third consecutive month in the Top 10 Brands list, but April’s sales now push the Chinese-owned British brand into the year-to-date list for the first time – replacing Mercedes-Benz, just. MG’s total 2021 sales so far are 11,735; Mercedes-Benz (including its commercial vehicles) sits on 11,657.

MG ZS
MG was still in the top selling brands - just

Top 10 brands - April 2021

  1. TOYOTA - 20,208 - up 95.7%
  2. MAZDA - 10,052 - up 232.6%
  3. MITSUBISHI - 7513 - up 333.3%
  4. FORD - 7146 - up 217.5%
  5. HYUNDAI - 5772 up 156.8%
  6. KIA - 5707 - up 129%
  7. NISSAN - 3500 - up 138.4%
  8. SUBARU - 3451 - up 169.2%
  9. VOLKSWAGEN - 3123 - 135.5%
  10. MG - 3007 - up 626.3%

Top 10 brands – year to date 2021

  1. TOYOTA - 76,721
  2. MAZDA - 37,667
  3. MITSUBISHI - 25,324
  4. HYUNDAI - 24,827
  5. FORD - 22,934
  6. KIA - 22,880
  7. NISSAN - 15,639
  8. SUBARU - 13,525
  9. VOLKSWAGEN - 12,212
  10. MG - 11,735

In charts

Overall segment sales

Category sales: April 2021 v April 2020

Category sales, year-to-date 2021 v 2020

Top brands year-to-date

 

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