Australian vehicle sales for December 2020 (VFACTS)

That’s it, 2020 is done. And we guess it’s good riddance in some senses, no thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. But, according to the December 2020 VFACTS figures, which have just been released, it looks like the new vehicle industry is on the mend in Australia.

At the year’s close the overall tally stands at 916,968 new vehicles registered. That’s down 13.7 per cent. However, the percentage drop is improving. For example, in the first 11 months of the year (through November) the year-to-date difference was negative 16.1 per cent.

During December specifically, Aussie consumers snapped up 95,652 new vehicles. Interestingly, this number is up 13.5 per cent on the same month last year. We guess the devastating bushfires that were ripping through parts of the nation last December might have caused a slump.

Of course, Toyota remains at the front of the pack in terms of the best-selling vehicle brand. It topped 23,470 sales in December, up 35.6 per cent on December last year. It also reported the most sales of all car brands for the entire year, with 204,801 units, down just 0.5 per cent.

Top 10 best-selling car brands in Australia

See below for the top 10 best-selling car brands in Australia during December 2020. The figures in brackets are from the previous month and not YTD. Further below is the top 10 best-sellers of the year.

  1. Toyota – 23,470 (up from 23,204 in November 2020)
  2. Mazda – 8556 (down from 9053)
  3. Hyundai – 6734 (down from 6903)
  4. Mitsubishi – 6380 (up from 5488)
  5. Ford – 6306 (down from 6613)
  6. Kia – 4700 (down from 5376)
  7. Nissan – 4216 (up from 4001)
  8. Subaru – 3402 (up from 3203)
  9. Volkswagen – 3291 (up from 3280)
  10. Isuzu – 3270 (up from 2943)

Top 10 best-selling vehicle brands of 2020 overall:

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  1. Toyota – 204,801 (down from 205,766 in 2019)
  2. Mazda – 85,640 (down from 97,619)
  3. Hyundai: 64,807 (down from 86,104)
  4. Ford – 59,601 (down from 63,303)
  5. Mitsubishi – 58,335 (down from 83,250)
  6. Kia – 56,076 (down from 61,503)
  7. Volkswagen – 39,266 (down from 49,928)
  8. Nissan – 38,323 (down from 50,575)
  9. Subaru – 31,501 (down from 40,007)
  10. Mercedes-Benz – 29,455 (down from 31,985)

Top 10 best-selling vehicles in Australia

The unstoppable Toyota HiLux leads the way in the vehicle model sales race, both in terms of December and for 2020 overall. However, the Ford Ranger is extremely close in second place.

In terms of non-commercial vehicles, the Toyota RAV4 takes the crown for the best-selling vehicle. And no surprises here, it’s an SUV. This is yet more evidence of the market’s demand for raised-up wagons.

Further down in the favourites we see the Isuzu D-Max has moved up into sixth place overall for the month, while the Toyota LandCruiser wagon sits in seventh. The top 10 best-selling vehicles in Australia during December 2020 were as follows:

  1. Toyota HiLux – 5572 (up from 5038 in November 2020)
  2. Ford Ranger – 4265 (up from 4260)
  3. Toyota RAV4 – 3542 (down from 3800)
  4. Toyota Corolla – 2516 (down from 2774)
  5. Toyota Prado – 2500 (down from 2602)
  6. Isuzu D-Max – 2409 (up from 2095)
  7. Toyota LandCruiser wagon – 2235 (up from 1981)
  8. Mazda CX-5 – 2060 (down from 2412)
  9. Hyundai i30 – 1996 (down from 2047)
  10. Nissan X-Trail – 1822 (up from 1405)

Top 10 best-selling vehicle models for 2020 overall:

  1. Toyota HiLux: 45,176 (down from 47,649 in 2019)
  2. Ford Ranger: 40,973 (up from 40,960)
  3. Toyota RAV4: 38,537 (up from 24,260)
  4. Toyota Corolla: 25,882 (down from 30,468)
  5. Mazda CX-5: 21,979 (down from 25,539)
  6. Hyundai i30: 20,734 (down from 28,378)
  7. Mitsubishi Triton: 18,136 (down from 25,819)
  8. Toyota Prado: 18,034 (down from 18,335)
  9. Kia Cerato: 17,559 (down from 21,757)
  10. Hyundai Tucson: 15,789 (down from 18,251)

Small Cars under $40,000

This segment is slowly falling in recent years. In fact, during 2020 the class made up 11.7 per cent of all new vehicles, while back in 2019 it held a 14.3 per cent share. Further back, in 2015, it held an 18.6 per cent market share. The uprise of the SUV is one of the reasons for this.

Even still, the Toyota Corolla was the favourite in December and for all of 2020. Sales are down 15.1 per cent across YTD, though, that’s against the segment overall which is reporting a 29.3 per cent downturn for the year. The class saw 107,082 sales during 2020.

See below for the top 10 best-selling small cars in Australia during December 2020:

  1. Toyota Corolla – 2516 (down from 2774 in November 2020)
  2. Hyundai i30 – 1996 (down from 2047)
  3. Mazda3 – 1319 (down from 1494)
  4. Kia Cerato – 1313 (down from 1625)
  5. Volkswagen Golf – 648 (up from 626)
  6. Honda Civic – 641 (up from 630)
  7. Subaru Impreza – 297 (up from 254)
  8. Subaru WRX – 109 (down from 207)
  9. Ford Focus – 95 (up from 80)
  10. Peugeot 308 –  46 (down from 49)

Top 10 best-selling vehicles in this class during 2020 overall:

  1. Toyota Corolla – 25,882 (down from 30,468 in 2019)
  2. Hyundai i30 – 20,734 (down from 28,378)
  3. Kia Cerato – 17,559 (down from 21,757)
  4. Mazda3 – 14,663 (down from 24,939)
  5. Volkswagen Golf – 10,012 (down from 14,355)
  6. Honda Civic – 7194 (down from 10,531)
  7. Subaru Impreza – 3390 (down from 4518)
  8. Ford Focus – 1878 (down from 3682)
  9. Hyundai Elantra –  1520 (down from 2644)
  10. Subaru WRX – 1399 (up from 1109)

Small Cars over $40,000

Into the premium small car segment, and it’s the Mercedes-Benz A-Class that takes the crown for the month and for the year. It easily outsold its closest rival, the Audi A3, by over double the sales for the year.

The segment overall is reporting an 11.4 per cent increase in YTD figures, but December numbers are down 8.8 per cent. The top five best-selling vehicles in the class during December 2020 were as follows:

  1. Mercedes-Benz A-Class – 530 (up from 378)
  2. Audi A3 – 201 (down from 275)
  3. BMW 1 Series – 142 (down from 204)
  4. BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe – 127 (down from 196)
  5. Mercedes-Benz B-Class – 41 (down from 42)

Top 5 best-selling vehicles in this class during 2020 overall:

  1. Mercedes-Benz A-Class – 6054 (up from 4689 in 2019)
  2. Audi A3 – 2778 (down from 3362)
  3. BMW 1 Series – 2309 (up from 2269)
  4. BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe – 1489 (new model)
  5. Mercedes-Benz B-Class – 513 (down from 1272)

Medium Cars under $60,000

There are no real surprises here. The Toyota Camry can’t be caught, but even it is suffering from SUV fever. Sales are down 18.1 per cent YTD.

But even so, that’s slightly better than the segment overall which is down 22.9 per cent. Market share is down from 2.5 per cent in 2019 to 2.2 per cent in 2020 for this class, too. The top five best-selling vehicles in this class during December 2020 were as follows:

  1. Toyota Camry – 1280 (down from 1283 in November)
  2. Skoda Octavia – 214 (down from 286)
  3. Mazda6 – 148 (down from 161)
  4. Subaru Liberty – 124 (up from 41)
  5. Volkswagen Passat – 35 (up from 30)

Top 5 best-selling vehicles in this class during 2020 overall:

  1. Toyota Camry – 13,727 (down from 16,768 in 2019)
  2. Skoda Octavia – 2111 (up from 1814)
  3. Mazda6 – 1727 (down from 2612)
  4. Subaru Liberty – 925 (down from 1344)
  5. Volkswagen Passat – 568 (down from 1040)

Medium Cars over $60,000

Over in the premium segment it gets quite interesting. The BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class have been battling it out all year, alternating the lead from month to month. Well, the Mercedes crosses the line in front for December, but the 3 Series takes the trophy for best-seller of the year.

The sleek Mercedes CLA isn’t far behind for the year, even though it should probably be in the small car class with the A-Class and BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe. All others are far behind. We should see some movements here in the coming months with the arrival of the new Lexus IS sedan.

Segment sales are down 24.7 per cent for the year, and down 7.8 per cent for the month of December. The top five best-selling vehicles in this class during December were as follows:

  1. Mercedes-Benz C-Class – 509 (up from 353)
  2. BMW 3 Series – 302 (down from 461)
  3. Mercedes-Benz CLA – 175 (down from 203)
  4. Lexus IS – 111 (down from 162)
  5. Lexus ES – 62 (down from 67)

Top 5 best-selling vehicles in this class during 2020 overall:

  1. BMW 3 Series – 3406 (up from 3135)
  2. Mercedes-Benz C-Class – 3378 (down from 6798)
  3. Mercedes-Benz CLA – 2082 (up from 1424)
  4. Audi A4 – 783 (down from 1284)
  5. Lexus IS – 703 (down from 818)

Large Cars under $70,000

Sales here are down 64.2 per cent YTD, and a more extreme 77.2 per cent for the month of December. It’s not looking good for the future of the large sedan.

Market share is now just 0.3 per cent, down from 0.8 per cent in 2019. Back 10 years ago, in 2010, this segment held 9.0 per cent market share. Sad, isn’t it?  The only vehicles on sale here during December reported the following figures:

  1. Kia Stinger – 117 (down from 119 in November)
  2. Skoda Superb – 33 (up from 24)
  3. Holden Commodore – 1 (down from 67)

Top 3 best-selling vehicles in this segment during 2020 overall:

  1. Kia Stinger – 1778 (up from 1773 in 2019)
  2. Holden Commodore – 1009 (down from 5915)
  3. Skoda Superb – 271 (down from 849)

Large Cars over $70,000

Premium sedans are doing a little better. Segment sales are down 22 per cent YTD, but for December the 243 units sold is up 20.3 per cent on the 202 units sold in December last year.

The BMW 5 Series leads the way for the month, but like the 3 Series and C-Class, it has been a close fight with the Mercedes E-Class all year. As such, the E-Class takes the crown for the overall favourite for the year. The top five best-selling vehicles in this segment during December 2020 were as follows:

  1. BMW 5 Series – 83 (up from 80)
  2. Mercedes-Benz E-Class – 76 (up from 62)
  3. Audi A6 – 29 (equal)
  4. Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class – 17 (up from 15)
  5. Maserati Ghibli – 15 (up from 13)

Top 5 best-selling vehicles in this class during 2020 overall:

  1. Mercedes-Benz E-Class – 771 (down from 1228)
  2. BMW 5 Series – 718 (down from 964)
  3. Audi A6 – 215 (up from 99)
  4. Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class – 149 (down from 220)
  5. Maserati Ghibli – 114 (down from 130)

Sports Car under $80,000

Into the fun stuff, the Ford Mustang takes the most sales for the month and for the year. In fact, it’s the best-selling sports car overall. The entry class is seeing an 18.2 per cent drop in sales YTD, but, interestingly, December is up 19 per cent. The top five best-selling vehicles in this segment during December 2020 were as follows:

  1. Ford Mustang – 334 (up from 230 in November 2020)
  2. Hyundai Veloster – 53 (down from 67) / Subaru BRZ – 53 (down from 57)
  3. BMW 2 Series – 44 (down from 67)
  4. Mazda MX-5 – 41 (up from 40)
  5. Toyota 86 – 32 (down from 39)

Top 5 best-selling cars in this class during 2020 overall:

  1. Ford Mustang – 2923 (down from 3948 in 2019)
  2. Hyundai Veloster – 639 (up from 260)
  3. BMW 2 Series – 628 (down from 923)
  4. Mazda MX-5 – 457 (up from 442)
  5. Subaru BRZ – 407 (up from 339)

Sport Cars over $80,000

In the middle tier of the lineup, this segment is reporting a 36.7 per cent decline in sales YTD, and only a 2.5 per cent drop in December. The Mercedes C-Class two-door takes the cake for the month and for the year, quite easily actually.

The top five best-selling models in this segment during December 2020 were as follows:

  1. Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe/Convertible – 153 (up from 87)
  2. BMW 4 Series – 86 (down from 107)
  3. Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe/Convertible – 36 (down from 48)
  4. Toyota Supra – 33 (up from 16)
  5. Lexus RC – 17 (down from 33)

Top 5 best-selling cars in this class during 2020 overall:

  1. Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe/Convertible – 1225 (down from 2496)
  2. BMW 4 Series – 478 (up from 468)
  3. Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe/Convertible – 448 (down from 577)
  4. Lexus RC – 217 (down from 252)
  5. Toyota Supra – 198 (down from 327)

Sport Cars over $200,000

At the top of the kingdom the Porsche 911 posted the highest sales for the month and for 2020 in this class. Sales are down 14.5 per cent YTD for the icon, but up an amazing 87.5 per cent for the month.

Segment sales are down 21.1 per cent across YTD and down only 3.2 per cent for the month. See below for the top five best-selling vehicles in this class during December 2020:

  1. Porsche 911 – 30 (down from 32)
  2. Ferrari Coupe/Convertible (not specified) – 16 (up from 9)
  3. Bentley Coupe/Convertible (not specified) – 9 (down from 15)
  4. Aston Martin Coupe/Convertible – 7 (up from 4)
  5. BMW 8 Series – 6 (up from 2) / Mercedes-AMG GT – 6 (down from 13)

Top 5 best-selling cars in this class during 2020 overall:

  1. Porsche 911 – 431 (down from 504)
  2. Ferrari Coupe/Convertible (not specified) – 205 (down from 257)
  3. BMW 8 Series – 104 (up from 74)
  4. Bentley Coupe/Convertible (not specified) – 92 (down from 115)
  5. Aston Martin Coupe/Convertible – 81 (down from 129)

Combined 4×2 and 4×4 ute

Obviously the Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger dominate here. But we can see some of the others are building momentum. During the month of December the Isuzu D-Max remains in third place from the previous month, and it looks like its twin-under-the-skin Mazda BT-50 is creeping up.

Nissan will soon launch its new Navara, which should shake things up a bit, while production supply for the D-Max is expected to increase over the coming months. The top 10 best-selling utes (4×2 and 4×4 combined – excludes LandCruiser, LDV T60, RAM 1500 etc.) for December 2020 were as follows:

  1. Toyota HiLux –  5572 (up from 5038 in November 2020)
  2. Ford Ranger – 4265 (up from 4260)
  3. Isuzu D-Max – 2409 (up from 2095)
  4. Mitsubishi Triton – 1575 (up from 1535)
  5. Nissan Navara – 1148 (up from 1006)
  6. Mazda BT-50 – 1024 (up from 712)
  7. Mercedes-Benz X-Class – 236 (up from 228)
  8. Volkswagen Amarok – 143 (down from 377)
  9. Great Wall Steed – 141 (down from 206)
  10. Holden Colorado – 27 (down from 88)

Top 10 best-selling 4×2 and 4×4 utes during 2020 overall:

  1. Toyota HiLux – 45,176 (down from 47,649 in 2019)
  2. Ford Ranger – 40,973 (up from 40,960)
  3. Mitsubishi Triton – 18,136 (down from 25,819)
  4. Isuzu D-Max – 15,062 (down from 16,892)
  5. Nissan Navara – 11,486 (down from 13,412)
  6. Mazda BT-50 – 9588 (down from 11,357)
  7. Holden Colorado – 7559 (down from 17,472)
  8. Volkswagen Amarok – 6343 (down from 8371)
  9. Mercedes-Benz X-Class – 2386 (up from 2148)
  10. Great Wall Steed – 1832 (up from 1401)

As for the 4×4-exclusive utes, the Toyota LandCruiser takes the cake. Sales of the 70 Series ute are up an impressive 9.1 per cent YTD, and up 108 per cent for the month. It really is unstoppable, this old girl. The top five best-selling 4×4 utes during December 2020 were as follows:

  1. Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series – 1327 (up from 966 in November 2020)
  2. LDV T60 – 846 (down from 871)
  3. RAM 1500 Express, Laramie and Warlock – 260 (up from 228)
  4. SsangYong Musso – 193 (up from 146)
  5. Jeep Gladiator – 83 (down from 102)

Top 5 best-selling utes in this class during 2020 overall:

  1. Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series – 10,064 (up from 9222 in 2019)
  2. LDV T60 – 5581 (up from 3529)
  3. RAM 1500 – 3299 (up from 2609)
  4. SsangYong Musso – 1084 (up from 545)
  5. Jeep Gladiator – 573 (new model for 2020)

Lastly, the ever-popular SUVs. The new ‘SUV Light’ class sees the biggest increase on YTD numbers, jumping 14.5 per cent, followed by the ‘SUV Upper Large below $100k’ segment, which is up 13.6 per cent. The ‘SUV Small above $40k’ class also reported a positive, of 12.7 per cent YTD. All other SUV segments reported some level of decline.

Best-selling SUVs in all segments

The Toyota RAV4 came out on top for the month and for the year overall, followed by the Toyota Prado and then the LandCruiser wagon in December. As for the best-selling premium SUV, that goes to the Audi Q3 in December. The top three best-selling SUVs in all segments during December 2020 were as follows, with the best-sellers of the year just below in each category:

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

  • Mazda CX-3 – 1333 (down from 1562 in November)
  • Toyota Yaris Cross – 517 (down from 794)
  • Volkswagen T-Cross – 440 (up from 270)

Best sellers of 2020 overall:

  • Mazda CX-3 – 13,953 (down from 14,813 in 2019)
  • Hyundai Venue – 3678 (up from 1245)
  • Volkswagen T-Cross – 2646 (new model)

SUV Small under $40,000:

Best sellers of 2020 overall:

SUV Small above $40,000:

  • Audi Q3 – 660 (up from 532)
  • Mercedes-Benz GLA – 489 (down from 522)
  • Volvo XC40 – 469 (up from 313)

Best sellers of 2020 overall:

  • Audi Q3 – 4090 (up from 755)
  • Volvo XC40 – 3229 (up from 2858)
  • Mercedes-Benz GLA – 3173 (up from 2562)

SUV Medium under $60,000:

Best sellers of 2020 overall:

SUV Medium above $60,000:

  • Lexus NX – 475 (up from 404)
  • BMW X3 – 382 (down from 476)
  • Mercedes-Benz GLC – 295 (up from 219)

Best sellers of 2020 overall:

  • Mercedes-Benz GLC – 4470 (down from 5770)
  • BMW X3 – 4360 (down from 4583)
  • Lexus NX – 3518 (up from 3471)

SUV Large under $70,000:

Best sellers of 2020 overall:

  • Toyota LandCruiser Prado – 18,034 (down from 18,335)
  • Toyota Kluger – 8403 (down from 11,371)
  • Isuzu MU-X – 7049 (down from 8,419)

SUV Large above $70,000:

Best sellers of 2020 overall:

  • BMW X5 – 2956 (down from 3498)
  • Mercedes-Benz GLE – 2854 (up from 2081)
  • Lexus RX – 1879 (down from 1883)

SUV Upper Large under $100,000:

Best sellers of 2020 overall:

  • Toyota LandCruiser – 15,078 (up from 13,802)
  • Nissan Patrol – 2820 (up from 1951)

SUV Upper Large above $100,000:

Best sellers of 2020 overall:

Total new vehicle sales in Australia in December were up on November 2020 figures. During December 2020, Australian consumers bought 95,652 vehicles according to VFACTS, compared with 95,205 in November. Overall sales for the month were up 13.5 per cent compared with December 2019, although year-to-date figures are down 13.7 per cent, as mentioned.

Brett is the editor and founder of PerformanceDrive. 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.