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Aussie car sales suffer worst decline in history

By Trent Giunco, 05 May 2020 News

Aussie car sales suffer worst decline in history

Last month’s new car sales make for grim reading

The Australian new car market has just recorded its biggest sales decrease for a month in history.

No other year-on-year sales result has slumped as much as 48.5 percent (April 2019 compared to April 2020) since VFACTS reporting started in 1991.

With lockdowns in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Australian registrations fell from 75,550 in 2019 to 38,926 in 2020 and will likely see Australia fail to reach more than 1 million sales this calendar year.

Read next: The decline of Holden (and the Commodore) in numbers

Interestingly, the new car market plummeted from 81,690 sales in March 2020 to the sub-40K figure in April, resulting in a 52.3 percent capitulation month-on-month.

Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) chief executive, Tony Weber, said that the Coronavirus pandemic has clearly impacted not only the April results, but also the wider economy.

Figures recently released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that 31 per cent of Australian citizens have experienced a decrease in income due to the pandemic.”

Risk-averse approach to lending is hurting new-car sales

“In addition 72 percent of Australian businesses reported that reduced cash flow is expected to have an adverse impact on business over the next two months.”

“These conditions inevitably impact consumer confidence and purchase decisions,” Weber said.

While the April result is an immense hit, the Aussie market has been on a downward trend for a while now, with the most recent figures revealing 25 consecutive months of year-on-year decline.

Read next: Coronavirus leads to 92 percent drop in Chinese car sales

Passenger cars plummeted by 14,659 registrations (-61.6 percent), while even the omnipresent SUV segment took a 45.7 percent slash in sales – a drop of 15,167 units.

Nearly every mainstream brand struggled (only niche players MG and RAM recorded positives sales growth), though one of the hardest hit was the Volkswagen Group.

Its biggest lowlight being an 80.7 percent fall in sales for Skoda, which registered just 107 vehicles last month. VW itself dipped by 62.1 percent.

Automotive supply

Luxury brands on a whole fared poorly, with both Audi and Mercedes-Benz seeing sales plummet 63.6 percent and 54.4 percent respectively, while BMW bucked the trend with a minimal 5.7 percent fall.

The iconic Holden Commodore fell to minuscule numbers, with just 30 Euro-grade ZBs finding their way to new homes as the Aussie company endured a 56.9 percent hit. 

However, put into a global perspective, it’s not all doom and gloom.

India’s market was decimated, as the nation experienced a 100 percent decline in sales due to its total lockdown, while Italy and France suffered a heavy 98 and 89 percent drop respectively.