Australian vehicle sales for August 2020 (VFACTS)

August 2020 VFACTS figures show there is no sign of recovery yet, with new vehicle registrations down an alarming 20.4 per cent year-to-date (YTD). The start of the new financial year usually sees some decline, but this year, for the month of August specifically, units are also down 28.8 per cent.

According to the VFACTS report, which counts new vehicle registrations, Australian consumers seem to have purchased just 60,986 new vehicles in August. That’s a massive drop from 110,234 units in June, and down quite a bit on 72,505 units reported in July.

The best-selling car brand, Toyota, saw its monthly figure droop 25.5 per cent, and across YTD the Japanese brand is down 9.8 per cent. That means it is bucking the trend of the overall industry, albeit suffering a sizeable decline.

Interestingly, it’s the Chinese brands that have handled the storm the best. MG reports a 57.1 per cent increase in YTD figures, and LDV is up 7.8 per cent. Great Wall is also up 22.4 per cent. It’s perhaps some coincidence some of these brands have recently launched new models.

Top 10 best-selling car brands in Australia

See below for the top 10 best-selling car brands in Australia for August 2020. The figures in brackets are from the previous month and not YTD, so we can see how models are tracking throughout the year.

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  1. Toyota – 12,449 (down from 15,508 in July 2020)
  2. Mazda – 6921 (down from 7806)
  3. Hyundai – 4525 (down from 4634)
  4. Kia – 4521 (down from 4625)
  5. Mitsubishi – 4308 (down from 4684)
  6. Ford – 3898 (down from 4573)
  7. Volkswagen – 2785 (down from 3710)
  8. Nissan – 2380 (down from 2906)
  9. Mercedes-Benz – 2064 (down from 2556)
  10. Subaru – 2052 (down from 2864)

So, the big question. What was the best-selling vehicle model? It wasn’t a ute, for a change. It was actually the Toyota RAV4. This is now the second month running for the RAV4 at the top of the charts. Initial deliveries were slow as production tried to keep up with demand. But now it seems it is flowing through at a decent rate.

Top 10 best-selling vehicles in Australia

The Toyota HiLux wasn’t the second-best seller, surprisingly. Instead it was the Ford Ranger. In fact the HiLux fell all the way down to sixth spot. We suspect this is because the significantly updated HiLux only just landed during August, so there were probably many buyers holding off. The top 10 best-selling vehicles in Australia during August 2020 were as follows:

  1. Toyota RAV4 – 4825 (up from 4309 in July 2020)
  2. Ford Ranger – 2935 (down from 3104)
  3. Mazda CX-5 – 1884 (up from 1727)
  4. Toyota Corolla – 1464 (down from 2192)
  5. Hyundai i30 – 1429 (down from 1745)
  6. Toyota HiLux – 1406 (down from 2947)
  7. Mitsubishi Triton – 1406 (down from 1593)
  8. Kia Cerato – 1264 (up from 1207)
  9. Mazda CX-3 – 1136 (down from 1355)
  10. Kia Seltos – 1046 (up from 940)

Small Cars under $40,000

Into the conventional hatchbacks, the Toyota Corolla continues to lead the charge. Although, the ‘charge’ isn’t all that powerful. Sales across YTD for this segment are down 33.6 per cent, and down 48.6 per cent for the month compared with last August. See below for the top 10 best-selling small cars in Australia during August 2020:

  1. Toyota Corolla – 1464 (down from 2192 in July 2020)
  2. Hyundai i30 – 1429 (down from 1745)
  3. Kia Cerato – 1264 (up from 1207)
  4. Mazda3 – 984 (down from 1224)
  5. Volkswagen Golf – 544 (down from 800)
  6. Honda Civic – 244 (down from 360)
  7. Subaru Impreza – 214 (down from 400)
  8. Hyundai Elantra –  164 (down from 167)
  9. Subaru WRX – 129 (up from 91)
  10. Ford Focus – 99 (down from 229)

Small Cars over $40,000

Over in the premium class, we see the Mercedes A-Class remains in front. It has set such a commanding lead so far this year that there is little chance any rival will catch up. With 4336 units YTD, the next nearest rival is the Audi A3 with 1702 units. Overall segment sales aren’t suffered as much as the non-premium class, with negative 13.3 per cent YTD and negative 13.0 per cent for the month. The top five best-selling vehicles in the segment during August 2020 were as follows:

  1. Mercedes-Benz A-Class – 406 (down from 588)
  2. Audi A3 – 281 (down from 331)
  3. BMW 1 Series – 164 (up from 98)
  4. BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe – 132 (up from 92)
  5. MINI Clubman – 37 (equal)

Medium Cars under $60,000

Conservative sedan buyers continue to flock to the Toyota Camry, but even it is struggling. Its YTD figure (8709) is down 19.6 per cent. Segment sales are down 26.2 per cent YTD, and down 34.2 per cent for the month. The top five best-selling vehicles in this class during August 2020 were as follows:

  1. Toyota Camry – 910 (down from 1281 in July)
  2. Skoda Octavia – 182 (down from 192)
  3. Mazda6 – 174 (up from 122)
  4. Subaru Liberty – 74 (down from 104)
  5. Subaru Levorg – 63 (up from 23)

Medium Cars over $60,000

Mercedes-Benz remains the favourite in this category, with its C-Class just about to tick over 2000 units (1921) so far this year, and the CLA topping the charts for the month. Interestingly, the BMW 3 Series seems to have sprinted off to a better start at the beginning of the year as it has totalled 2130 units so far. Overall class figures are down 30.3 per cent YTD and down 38.6 per cent for the month. The top five best-selling vehicles in this segment during August were as follows:

  1. Mercedes-Benz CLA – 239 (up from 236)
  2. BMW 3 Series – 173 (up from 84)
  3. Mercedes-Benz C-Class – 155 (down from 299)
  4. Audi A4 – 71 (down from 83)
  5. Audi A5 Sportback – 37 (up from 34)

Large Cars under $70,000

Almost dwindled away to nothing, this segment, the Kia Stinger maintains the only sort of composure here. Segment sales are down a crushing 65 per cent YTD, and down 64.8 per cent for the month. The only vehicles on sale in this segment in August reported the following units:

  1. Kia Stinger – 178 (down from 197 in July)
  2. Holden Commodore – 71 (down from 103)
  3. Skoda Superb – 27 (down from 40)

Large Cars over $70,000

Executive sedan buyers continue to jump into the Mercedes E-Class the most, with its arch rival, the BMW 5 Series not too far behind. In fact, the race is on for the yearly crown, with 482 units so far for the E-Class and 456 for the 5 Series. Overall class numbers are down 36.4 per cent YTD and down 46.3 per cent for the month. The top five best-selling vehicles in this class during August 2020 were as follows:

  1. Mercedes-Benz E-Class – 53 (down from 67)
  2. BMW 5 Series – 34 (down from 40)
  3. Audi A6 – 16 (down from 17)
  4. Volvo V90 CC – 11 (new)
  5. Mercedes-Benz CLS – 10 (down from 16)

Sports Car under $80,000

Over into the grin-inducing cars, the Ford Mustang tops the class once again and was the best-selling sports car overall. YTD figures are at 2029 units, which is down 30.8 per cent on the same eight-month period last year. Segment sales are down 22.8 per cent so far this year, and down 33 per cent for the month. The top five best-selling vehicles in this category during August 2020 were as follows:

  1. Ford Mustang – 147 (down from 279 in July 2020)
  2. Hyundai Veloster – 78 (up from 72)
  3. Mazda MX-5 – 53 (up from 40)
  4. Toyota 86 – 19 (down from 49)
  5. BMW 2 Series – 18 (down from 22)

Sport Cars over $80,000

Moving higher end, the Mercedes C-Class two-door sets the pace, followed by its bigger brother, the two-door E-Class. Toyota Supra sales still aren’t up where we might have predicted a few years ago, with just 15 units in August. Sales in this class are down 37.3 per cent YTD, and down 45.3 per cent for the month of August. The top five best-selling models in this segment during August 2020 were as follows:

  1. Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe/Convertible – 75 (down from 92)
  2. Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe/Convertible – 36 (down from 50)
  3. BMW 4 Series – 25 (up from 15)
  4. Toyota Supra – 15 (down from 20) / Audi A5 – 15 (down from 18)
  5. Lexus RC – 13 (down from 15)

Sport Cars over $200,000

At the top end, Porsche of course commands the pack. Ferrari sales continue to push strong though despite being such an exotic brand. Overall class sales are down 28.1 per cent across YTD, and have dropped 21 per cent for the month of August. The top five best-selling vehicles in this segment during August 2020 were as follows:

  1. Porsche 911 – 25 (down from 32)
  2. Ferrari Coupe/Convertible (not specified) – 11 (down from 12)
  3. BMW 8 Series – 10 (down from 14)
  4. Aston Martin (not specified) – 8 / Maserati Coupe/Convertible – 8
  5. McLaren (not specified) – 7 (down from 8)

Combined 4×2 and 4×4 ute

Many of these will soon undergo major updates and facelifts, which should see some noticeable spikes in sales. But for now the numbers are pretty grim. The Mitsubishi Triton overtook the HiLux for the month, while Isuzu D-Max sales dropped right down. Although, this is likely due to the change over to the all-new model which officially went on sale on September 1. The top 10 best-selling utes (4×2 and 4×4 combined – excludes LandCruiser, LDV T60, RAM 1500 etc.) for August were as follows:

  1. Ford Ranger – 2935 (down from 3104 in July 2020)
  2. Mitsubishi Triton – 1406 (down from 1593)
  3. Toyota HiLux –  1217 (down from 2947)
  4. Nissan Navara – 868 (down from 871)
  5. Mazda BT-50 – 638 (down from 1012)
  6. Volkswagen Amarok – 550 (down from 707)
  7. Isuzu D-Max – 197 (down from 705)
  8. Mercedes-Benz X-Class – 174 (down from 232)
  9. Holden Colorado – 171 (down from 390)
  10. Great Wall Steed – 115 (down from 170)

Utes that feature 4×4 only were led by the Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series, as usual. There is a new model coming very soon which brings in a proper touch-screen media interface. When this lands we’d anticipate a decent climb in figures. The top five best-selling 4×4-exclusive utes during August 2020 were as follows:

  1. Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series – 740 (up from 705 in July 2020)
  2. LDV T60 – 420 (down from 437)
  3. RAM 1500 Express, Laramie and Warlock – 244 (down from 279)
  4. SsangYong Musso – 87 (down from 111)
  5. Jeep Gladiator – 45 (up from 33)

SUVs are also taking a bit of a battering, in some segments anyway. The most popular class for the month was the ‘Medium below $60k’ segment, reporting 12,607 units, down only 16.1 per cent YTD and down 8.8 per cent for the month.

Coming in as second favourite, the ‘Small below $40k’ SUV category reported 6797 sales in August. That’s down 15.9 per cent from last August, but down only 7.5 per cent YTD. The ‘Large below $70k’ class rounds out third spot, with 5871 units, down 20.6 per cent YTD and down 27.6 per cent for the month.

Top three best-selling SUVs in all segments

The Toyota RAV4 was the most popular SUV overall, as we saw, while the Mercedes-Benz GLC topped the charts for the luxury SUV classes. The top three best-selling SUVs in all segments during August 2020 were as follows:

SUV Light (new segment for 2020, no price range):

SUV Small under $40,000:

SUV Small above $40,000:

  • Volvo XC40 – 225 (up from 215)
  • Mercedes-Benz GLA – 201 (up from 93)
  • BMW X1 – 164 (up from 89)

SUV Medium under $60,000:

SUV Medium above $60,000:

  • Mercedes-Benz GLC – 385 (down from 479)
  • BMW X3 – 302 (up from 271)
  • Volvo XC60 – 237 (down from 267)

SUV Large under $70,000:

SUV Large above $70,000:

  • BMW X5 – 197 (up from 91)
  • Mercedes-Benz GLE – 171 (down from 266)
  • Volkswagen Touareg – 84 (down from 113)

SUV Upper Large under $100,000:

SUV Upper Large above $100,000:

  • BMW X7 – 66 (up from 65)
  • Mercedes-Benz GLS – 45 (down from 64)
  • Mercedes-Benz G-Class – 44 (up from 16)

Total new vehicle sales in Australia in August were down on July 2020 figures, as mentioned. During August, Australian consumers bought 60,986 vehicles according to VFACTS, compared with 72,505 in July. Overall sales for the month are down 28.8 per cent compared with August 2019, and down 20.4 per cent year-to-date.

Brett is the editor and founder of Performance Drive. He's obsessed with driving, having played with Matchbox cars until he was tall enough to drive a real one. After initially working as a mechanic, Brett earned a degree in journalism and entered media as an editorial assistant at Top Gear Australia magazine. He then worked at CarAdvice.com.au. His dream is to live next door to the Nurburgring in Germany.