With the end of financial year coming to a close, the new car industry was always expected to show some improved signs of resilience as buyers rush to take advantage of last-minute bargains.
The ongoing impact of COVID-19 continues to hamper consumer sentiment, while also restricting access to credit, however, there were some pleasing signs in June as sales topped forecasts. In some cases, dealers were even caught short in terms of having access to stock.
Total new car sales
New car sales for June were down 6.4% versus last year’s comparable month. That meant a grand total of 110,234 were registered last month, almost double the amount from May.
The contraction in the market also narrowed from the 48.5% drop in April and the 35.3% slump in May. Nonetheless, despite being a better result than recent times from a volume perspective, last month was still the 27th consecutive month where sales have slowed. Yet again, the ACT continues to be one of the few bright spots across the market, with sales up 13.6% year on year.
With six months down, the first half of 2020 has seen 442,415 new car sales, which is 20.2% lower than the same period last year, where 554,466 cars were reported as sold.
New car sales by segment
The light commercial vehicle segment enjoyed a stellar month, with sales in this category actually rising 8.6% compared with June 2019. Given the publicity surrounding the heightened instant tax write-off, the result should not come as a surprise, albeit the demand for utes and vans was stronger than anticipated.
Meanwhile, sales for Australia’s most-popular type of vehicle, SUVs, fell 2.9% year-on-year. That was ahead of the market-wide result, with passenger car sales diving sharply. Heavy commercial vehicles also enjoyed some growth despite the recession weighing on business confidence.
Finally, fully-electric and plug-in hybrid car sales jumped 91%, albeit from a base of 201 to 384. Hybrid cars continue to gain a foothold in the market, with sales leaping 78% 4,243 units.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of our review into new car sales for June 2020, covering vehicle makes and models.