As the impact of lockdowns weighed on the new car market, some of the momentum seen in the industry across recent months has begun to subside.
In what has become a familiar tune of late, the automotive industry is still being hampered by stock restrictions that are tipped to extend into 2022. Once again, that means the best time to be ordering a new car is as soon as possible, allowing for delays that span across production to delivery.
CEO of Australian Automotive Dealers Association James Voortman noted the issues, noting that “stock shortages continue across most major brands...it's important customers stay in contact with their dealer for any updates, as the situation is changing weekly and in some cases daily.”
Total new car sales
Throughout July, new car sales totalled 84,161 units, which on the surface represented an encouraging 16.1% increase compared with the same month a year prior. However, when compared with the five-year average for the month of July prior to the pandemic, the result actually fell somewhat flat, being 5.5% lower. Furthermore, when measured against the 92,754 units delivered in July 2017, a record for the month, the result was weaker by 9.3%.
Despite the impressive headline result, the reason why some momentum has fallen out of the market is due to weakness in New South Wales. In Australia’s largest vehicle market, new car sales eased 1.7%, which weighed on the overall result. Clearly, the impact of lockdowns are beginning to reflect on sales data, as we saw last year in the midst of broader lockdowns across the country.
New car sales by segment
The passenger vehicle segment continues to face its fair share of difficulties, with new car sales decreasing by 3% compared with June to 17,619 units. When analysed year-to-date, the result is only marginally better, with sales up a meagre 6%.
On the other hand, light-commercial vehicles and SUVs are driving the growth across the market. The former saw sales leap 41%, with utes and vans the major mover in the segment thanks to business tax incentives offered by the government. SUVs are also recording strong growth, with registrations increasing 15% to 42,020 units. The duo have both seen their respective sales grow by 34% year-on-year, which is a reflection of where demand is at.
Last but not least, the electric revolution is gathering pace, with the sale of fully-electric vehicles up 273%, plug-in hybrid sales surging 146%, and hybrids storming up the charts thanks to a total of 5,152 units reported as sold last month.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of our review into new car sales for July 2021, covering vehicle makes and models.