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Aussies are hoarding toilet paper, hand sanitiser and MG SUVs

By Andy Enright, 03 Apr 2020 News

Aussies are hoarding toilet paper, hand sanitiser and MG SUVs

Has social distancing affected our critical faculties or is there another reason why MG is absolutely crushing it in the latest sales figures?

The big news? The latest VFACTS sales figures for March weren't the unmitigated disaster we were all expecting. Yes, the new vehicle market sank for the 24th month in a row, but not by a huge amount.

Hidden among the serious players shifting over a thousand units a month was a standout. It seems that when the chips are down a Chinese SUV is the way to go. MG sales have skyrocketed. Why?

Those numbers first. The overall market is down by 17.9 percent year-on-year. Kia's sales overtook Hyundai for the very first time in Australia and even Holden belatedly came good, registrations stepping up by over 30 percent this month on the back of some ultra-aggressive price promos.

But it was MG that really seems to have tapped a vein. It recorded 1234 sales, an uptick of 75.5 percent over last month and a whopping 93.2 percent over the year-to-date figures for last year.

Drill down a little further and the data reveals some interesting tell-tales.

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

Launching the very well-received HS SUV just when people were starting to hide away indoors and wonder whether they'd emerge with a job didn't seem the ideal way to gain a strong market foothold.

Nevertheless, the HS, along with the MG3, has bolstered sales to such an extent that it's clear there's an underlying trend here.

Kia sales are up. Great Wall is up. Haval is up. The entire medium SUV segment sagged and the light SUV class firmed slightly.

In other words, people are doing something entirely logical. They're spending less.

You've only got to look at the 130 percent month-on-month sales growth of the Holden Trax to see that. If the rumours are true, some cash-hungry Holden dealers are letting these out of the door from $13K.

Read next: Why the heck does Australia love the Mitsubishi ASX?

For the longer term at least, it's hard to bet against MG. A box-fresh, well rated family SUV with a seven-year warranty for somewhere in the region of thirty grand? That'll be part of the reason why Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross sales collapsed by 42 percent and Nissan Qashqai by 44 percent.

It seems some Chinese imports are more welcome than others.