A total of 59,894 new vehicles were sold in May according to VFACTS data released today by The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI).
May’s result represents a drop of 35.3 per cent when compared to the corresponding month last year when 92,561 sales were recorded, albeit under a different data collection model.  
Last month’s total is also the largest drop in May sales since VFACTS statistics began recording in 1991.
In May, passenger cars fell by 15,054 sales (-52.1 per cent) compared to the same month last year, SUVs were down by 12,285 sales (-30 per cent), and light commercials were down by 4387 sales (-22.9 per cent).
While the numbers don’t look great, the market is rebounding (somewhat) after a shocking April where the market fell by 48.5 per cent when the response to the pandemic was in full swing.
Tony Weber, chief executive of the FCAI, said the automotive market has been under pressure for some time.
“May 2020 is the 26th consecutive month of negative growth for the market, and the causative factors are well documented - droughts, floods, bushfires, tight lending conditions, unfavourable exchange rates, and political uncertainty.”
“Now, we add to that the devastating effect of the COVID-19 pandemic over the past three months.”
“While COVID-19 is primarily a health crisis, it has brought about an economic crisis as well.  These are difficult times for the global and domestic economy, and this of course has repercussions for the local sales sector, including the automotive industry,” Mr Weber said.
The FCAI also noted consumer confidence has declined which has led to “a contraction of household income and consequently household spending.” Add the uncertainty of the pandemic and the economy has taken a significant hit.
The industry is preparing for more pain with the Reserve Bank warning the first six months of 2020 are likely to see “biggest contraction in national output and income that we have witnessed since the Great Depression.”
Praise has been heaped on Federal Government stimulus initiatives such as JobSeeker and JobKeeper, along with the Instant Asset Write Off to further encourage business investment.
“The Instant Asset Write Off initiative has real potential to help stimulate the market, and we would like to see it extended in its current form beyond 30th June 2020,” Mr Weber said.
Mr Weber noted that the combination of the stimulus initiatives and the gradual easing of the pandemic-enforced restrictions has introduced some optimism into the market.
“Anecdotally, we may be beginning to see some ‘green shoots’ in the marketplace. With people venturing out a little more, dealers have advised of a slight uptick in floor traffic through dealerships.”
“Additionally, we are hearing from some brands that website traffic is on the rise – a sure sign of increased purchasing interest.”
“And finally, brand End of Financial Year campaigns have started, meaning the opportunity to snare a bargain has increased significantly,” Mr Weber said.
Toyota commanded the largest market share (24.2 per cent) accounting for almost one in every four sales.
Unlike previous months where Kia was still growing, every mainstream marque experienced a drop in sales. Mazda held second place despite a fall of 34 per cent, while Hyundai collapsed by a massive 49 per cent.
Going back to Kia, the Korean brand’s run of form came to an end with a 50 per cent fall.
BMW managed to limit the damage to a fall of just 1.9 per cent. Rival Audi also did well to cap the drop at 4.3 per cent, while Mercedes-Benz copped a 28.3 per cent decline.
The market’s brightest spots were found in smaller brands with Ram up 42.3 per cent (333 sales), MG (664 sales - up 14.5 per cent) and Haval (207 sales - up 73.9 per cent).
Luxury brand Genesis recorded five sales to be up 66.7 per cent, while sportscar specialist Lotus sold six cars for an improvement of 500 per cent.
The top-selling vehicle in April was the Toyota HiLux with 3527 sales, followed by the Ford Ranger (2633 sales), Toyota RAV4 (2345 sales), Toyota Corolla (1625 sales) and the Mazda CX-5 (1479).
A full segment by segment breakdown is included below.
Top 10 selling new vehicles - May 2020
Toyota HiLux - 3527, down 16.1 per cent
Ford Ranger - 2663, down 32.9 per cent
Toyota RAV4 - 2345, down 19.6 per cent
Toyota Corolla - 1626, down 34.1 per cent
Mazda CX-5 - 1479, down 29.6 per cent
Toyota Prado - 1358, down 23.5 per cent
Toyota LandCruiser 200 - 1260, down 9.9 per cent
Hyundai i30 - 1191, down 58.9 per cent
Mazda 3 - 1052, down 55.4 per cent
Hyundai Tucson - 1019, down 40.4 per cent
Top 10 selling vehicle brands - May 2020
Toyota - 14,466, down 23.1 per cent
Mazda -5661, down 34.0 per cent
Hyundai - 4109, down 49.3 per cent
Ford - 3894, down 32.7 per cent
Mitsubishi - 3010, down 41.2 per cent
Volkswagen - 2781, down 38.5 per cent
Kia - 2760, down 50.1 per cent
Nissan - 2216, down 44.2 per cent
Subaru - 2023, down 49.7 per cent
BMW - 2013, down 1.9 per cent
Segment breakdown
Micro cars: Kia Picanto 203, Mitsubishi Mirage 42, Fiat 500 37
Light cars: Suzuki Swift 313, MG 3 302, Kia Rio 271
Light cars over $40k: Mini 111, Audi A1 36, Citroen C3 4
Small cars: Toyota Corolla 1626, Hyundai i30 1191, Mazda 3 1052
Small cars over $40k: Mercedes A-Class 352, BMW 1 Series 194, Audi A3 168
Medium cars: Toyota Camry 911, Mazda 6 125, Skoda Octavia 94
Medium cars over $60k: BMW 3 Series 268, Mercedes CLA 174, Mercedes C-Class 137
Large cars: Kia Stinger 93, Holden Commodore 40, Skoda Superb 15
Large cars over $70k: BMW 5 Series 57, Mercedes E-Class 29, Audi A6 11
Upper large cars: BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe 14, BMW 7 Series 10, Mercedes-Benz S-Class 7
People movers: Kia Carnival 190, Hyundai iMax 68, Honda Odyssey 46
Sports cars: Ford Mustang 257, Mercedes-Benz C-Class 75, Toyota 86 40
Sports cars over $80k: Mercedes C-Class 75, BMW Z4 39, BMW 4 Series 18
Sports over $200k: Porsche 911 30, Ferrari 20, BMW 8 Series Coupe 9
Light SUV: Mazda CX-3 883, Hyundai Venue 246, Holden Trax 225
Small SUV: Toyota C-HR 329, Hyundai Kona 737, Mitsubishi ASX 725
Small SUV over $40k: Audi Q3 329, Volvo XC40 209, BMW X1 299
Medium SUV: Toyota RAV4 2345, Mazda CX-5 1479, Hyundai Tucson 1019
Medium SUV over $60k: BMW X3/X4 322, Mercedes GLC/Coupe 445, Lexus NX 246
Large SUV: Toyota Prado 1260, Toyota Kluger 541, Mazda CX-9 453
Large SUV over $70k: BMW X5/X6 322, Mercedes GLE/Coupe 198, Lexus RX 142
Upper large SUV: Toyota LandCruiser 1260, Nissan Patrol 219, Mercedes-Benz GLS 77
Vans under 2.5t: Volkswagen Caddy 133, Renault Kangoo 35, Peugeot Partner 11
Vans 2.5-3.5t: Toyota HiAce 615, Hyundai iLoad 239, Ford Transit Cust. 219
4×2 utes: Toyota HiLux 727, Isuzu D-Max 348, Mazda BT-50 246
4×4 utes: Toyota HiLux 2800, Ford Ranger 2499, Toyota LandCruiser 872
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