Australian vehicle sales for February 2021 (VFACTS)

New vehicle registration figures, in the form of VFACTS, for February 2021 show yet more evidence that the Australian new car market is recovering. The first two months of the year are up 7.9 per cent, and the month itself is up 5.1 per cent compared with February last year.

It has been a doom and gloom past 12 months in the new car market, with the coronavirus pandemic causing various obvious physical restrictions and a variety of production setbacks. However, the latest new vehicle sales figures (actually new vehicle registrations, but we’ll call them sales for brevity) show the market is on the mend.

Total new car sales topped 83,977 in February, up 5.1 per cent on February 2020. That’s also up from 79,666 reported in January. Interestingly, the biggest growth was in Northern Territory, with its 747-unit contribution up 32.7 per cent on the 184 units sold in the same month last year. Queensland also jumped 14.8 per cent, to 18,276 units, and NSW rose 10.8 per cent to 27,302 sales.

Once again, Toyota stands at the top for car brands. This paragraph might as well be copied and pasted every month. It reported 18,375 sales, up 3.9 per cent for the month and up 8.3 per cent for the first two months of the year compared with the same months last year (YTD). Its most popular single model was the HiLux 4×4, contributing 3718 sales (excluding 4×2).

Top 10 best-selling car brands in Australia

There weren’t many movements for the top runners, except Subaru is off the top 10 chart and MG jumps straight into an impressive eighth spot for the month. See below for the top 10 best-selling vehicle brands in Australia during February 2021. The figures in brackets are from the previous month.

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  1. Toyota – 18,375 (up from 16,819 in January 2021)
  2. Mazda – 8322 (down from 8508)
  3. Hyundai – 6252 (up from 5951)
  4. Mitsubishi – 6202 (up from 5179)
  5. Kia – 5871 (up from 5500)
  6. Ford – 4712 (down from 5099)
  7. Nissan – 3824 (up from 3756)
  8. MG – 3017 (up from 2408)
  9. Volkswagen – 3009 (up from 2722)
  10. Mercedes-Benz – 2815 (up from 2443)

Top 10 best-selling vehicles in Australia

Here, it’s obviously the Toyota HiLux that crosses the line with the most sales overall for a single nameplate. And it was a big month for the popular ute, almost kicking over 5000 sales. Its cousin (does that work?), the RAV4, remains in third place, with the Ford Ranger in second.

Moving down the top 10 list, we see the Mitsubishi ASX is back in the chart. However, that means the Nissan X-Trail is out. The Isuzu D-Max also swaps places with the Triton for a better position, while the Kia Cerato continues to post decent numbers for its class. The top 10 best-selling vehicles in Australia during February 2021 were as follows:

  1. Toyota HiLux – 4808 (up from 3913 in January)
  2. Ford Ranger – 2900 (down from 3120)
  3. Toyota RAV4 – 2750 (down from 3066)
  4. Toyota Corolla – 2427 (up from 2062)
  5. Hyundai i30 – 2210 (up from 1952)
  6. Mazda CX-5 – 2048 (down from 2081)
  7. Isuzu D-Max – 1765 (down from 1822)
  8. Mitsubishi Triton – 1761 (down from 1908)
  9. Mitsubishi ASX – 1489 (up from 1278)
  10. Kia Cerato – 1468 (down from 1545)

Small Cars under $40,000

Here, the Corolla steams strongly at the head of the pack, as usual. Meanwhile, further down the Subaru WRX managed to shift into seventh place, up from eighth in January, and the Toyota Prius V jumps into the list for the first time that we’ve seen.

Overall segment sales topped 8594 units, down 23.3 per cent for the month and down 21.2 per cent across YTD. This is likely as more and more buyers shift their focus to SUVs. See below for the top 10 best-selling small cars in Australia during February 2021:

  1. Toyota Corolla – 2427 (up from 2062 in January 2021)
  2. Hyundai i30 – 2210 (up from 1952)
  3. Kia Cerato – 1468 (down from 1545)
  4. Mazda3 – 1373 (down from 1501)
  5. Honda Civic – 439 (down from 576)
  6. Subaru Impreza – 228 (down from 374)
  7. Subaru WRX – 133 (up from 81)
  8. Skoda Scala – 124 (up from 51)
  9. Ford Focus – 116 (down from 117)
  10. Toyota Prius V – 25 (up from 10)

Small Cars over $40,000

Luxury small cars saw limited change in terms of the leaderboard. The Mercedes A-Class remains the favourite, followed by its arch rival, the BMW 1 Series. We see the Audi A3 has dropped out of the top five (33 sales), leaving room for the MINI Clubman to swoop in.

Combined sales in this class finished the month at 1015 units. That’s down 22.2 per cent for the month, but down only 12.7 per cent YTD. It’s interesting to see the premium class is doing slightly better than the non-premium segment above. In terms of the decline anyway. The top five best-selling vehicles in the class during February 2021 were as follows:

  1. Mercedes-Benz A-Class – 421 (up from 323)
  2. BMW 1 Series – 239 (up from 223)
  3. BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe – 148 (up from 117)
  4. Mercedes-Benz B-Class – 61 (up from 42)
  5. MINI Clubman – 50 (up from 14)

Medium Cars under $60,000

It’s a segment that, sadly, is getting smaller and smaller. Toyota Camry sales are still going strong though, no doubt thanks to fleet numbers. But even it is suffering from the SUV invasion, with its figure down 30.7 per cent compared with last February.

Class sales topped 1270 units during the month, down 38 per cent compared with last February and down 28.1 per cent year-to-date. The top five best-selling vehicles in this class during February 2021 were as follows:

  1. Toyota Camry – 1001 (up from 815 in January)
  2. Mazda6 – 101 (down from 114)
  3. Skoda Octavia – 89 (down from 153)
  4. Subaru Liberty – 37 (down from 183)
  5. Volkswagen Passat – 17 (down from 19)

Medium Cars over $60,000

Into the premium mid-sizers, and it’s the Mercedes C-Class that leads the charge. And that’s despite an all-new model being just around the corner. The Lexus IS posted some impressive numbers, likely thanks to the new model arriving recently, pushing the common runner-up BMW 3 Series into third spot.

The class saw 897 sales overall during February, down only 1.6 per cent on the same month last year. Across YTD, the segment is down just 1.3 per cent. The top five best-selling vehicles in this class during February were as follows:

  1. Mercedes-Benz C-Class – 343 (down from 398)
  2. Lexus IS – 147 (up from 96)
  3. BMW 3 Series – 124 (down from 139)
  4. Audi A4 – 79 (up from 45)
  5. Mercedes-Benz CLA – 74 (down from 92)

Large Cars under $70,000

It looks like the Holden Commodore is pretty much dead now, well and truly. It reported zero sales again. Holden itself also reported no numbers. The Kia Stinger, though, seems to be holding the segment alive. In fact, its numbers are up 22.4 per cent for the month and up 29.5 per cent YTD. This is likely helped by the updated model.

Combined class figures topped just 245 units, which is down 18.9 per cent for the month and down a more alarming 36.7 per cent YTD. The only vehicles on sale here during February reported the following figures:

  1. Kia Stinger – 191 (up from 147 in January)
  2. Skoda Superb – 54 (up from 48)
  3. Holden Commodore – 0 (equal)

Large Cars over $70,000

Interestingly, the premium large cars are not suffering as bad. At all, in fact. The segment reported 266 sales overall, which is up 41.5 per cent for the month  and up 27.9 per cent across YTD.

The Mercedes E-Class reported some decent figures, leaving its nemesis BMW 5 Series in second place. Porsche reported 51 sales of the stunning new Taycan fully electric sedan, showing big promise there – this will be one to keep an eye on. The top five best-selling vehicles in this segment during February 2021 were as follows:

  1. Mercedes-Benz E-Class – 99 (up from 58)
  2. BMW 5 Series – 62 (up from 32)
  3. Porsche Taycan – 51 (up from 13)
  4. Audi A6 – 23 (equal)
  5. Maserati Ghibli – 15 (up from 12)

Sports Cars under $80,000

Into the fun stuff, and as no surprise the Ford Mustang tops the charts overall. The BMW 2 Series two-door comes in as runner-up for the entry class, with the Toyota 86 jumping up into third spot from fifth in the previous month.

Segment sales reached 502 units during the month, up 9.4 per cent compared with the same month last year, and up 2.9 per cent YTD. The top five best-selling vehicles in this segment during February 2021 were as follows:

  1. Ford Mustang – 221 (down from 361 in January)
  2. BMW 2 Series – 62 (up from 40)
  3. Toyota 86 – 52 (up from 32)
  4. Mazda MX-5 – 50 (down from 53)
  5. Subaru BRZ – 47 (up from 15)

Sport Cars over $80,000

Higher-calibre models saw an almost opposite trend, with its combined tally of 304 sales up only 1.3 per cent. Meanwhile its YTD figure is down 9.4 per cent. Models such as the Toyota Supra (11) and Porsche Boxster (13) saw increases compared with last February, of 10 per cent and 30 per cent, respectively. But YTD figures weren’t so good.

The favourite was the Mercedes C-Class two-door, with the BMW 4 Series posting not even half the units of the Stuttgart-based rival. The top five best-selling models in this segment during February 2021 were as follows:

  1. Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe/Convertible – 130 (up from 73)
  2. BMW 4 Series – 52 (down from 55)
  3. Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe/Convertible – 34 (up from 23)
  4. Audi A5 – 14 (down from 17) / Lexus RC – 14 (down from 16)
  5. Porsche Boxster – 13 (up from 9) / Porsche Cayman – 13 (up from 10)

Sport Cars over $200,000

Into the serious end, and it’s the Porsche 911 that dominates the charts, as usual form. However, we notice its figure dropped quite a bit from the previous month, with 23 sales in February compared with 33 in January.

Ferrari remains in second position for the month and YTD (30), with McLaren also joining Ferrari for runner-up during February. See below for the top five best-selling vehicles in this class during February 2021:

  1. Porsche 911 – 23 (down from 33 in January)
  2. Ferrari Coupe/Convertible (not specified) – 13 (down from 16) / McLaren (not specified) – 13 (up from 5)
  3. Bentley Coupe/Convertible (not specified) – 11 (up from 7)
  4. Aston Martin Coupe/Convertible – 6 (down from 9)
  5. Lamborghini Coupe/Convertible, Audi R8, BMW 8 Series, Mercedes-AMG GT – 4

Combined 4×2 and 4×4 utes

Aussie consumers just can’t get enough of these machines. And the manufacturers are following demand and providing more advanced, safer, and better-performing models than ever before.

Leading the rampage is the HiLux, of course. The Ranger remains in second, but it’s the Isuzu D-Max jumping into third that seems the most exciting news here. Isuzu has been gunning for third spot for a while, and now it’s there. For the month.

The top 9 best-selling utes (4×2 and 4×4 combined – excludes LandCruiser, LDV T60, RAM 1500 etc.) for February 2021 were as follows:

  1. Toyota HiLux –  4808 (up from 3913 in January)
  2. Ford Ranger – 2900 (down from 3120)
  3. Isuzu D-Max – 1765 (down from 1822)
  4. Mitsubishi Triton – 1761 (down from 1908)
  5. Mazda BT-50 – 1184 (up from 1047)
  6. Nissan Navara – 865 (down from 920)
  7. Volkswagen Amarok – 690 (up from 546)
  8. Great Wall Steed – 100 (up from 92)
  9. Mercedes-Benz X-Class – 7 (down from 19)

As for the 4×4-only category, which looks like it’s getting bigger and bigger by the minute, the Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series continues on in front. It reported a big jump from January. The Chinese LDV and new GWM offerings continue to show popularity. The top five best-selling 4×4 utes during February 2021 were as follows:

  1. Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series – 1195 (up from 889 in January)
  2. LDV T60 – 517 (up from 375)
  3. GWM Ute – 317 (up from 277)
  4. RAM 1500 Express, Laramie and Warlock – 305 (up from 119)
  5. SsangYong Musso – 146 (up from 133)

Even more popular, yes, it’s the SUVs. The ‘SUV Light’ class rose a whopping 92.4 per per cent for the month, making it the fastest-growing SUV class of all. The ‘Small below $40k’ segment also reported strong growth, up 27.4 per cent for the month.

Best-selling SUVs in all segments

In terms of the most popular SUV outright, it was the Toyota RAV4. The most popular premium SUV was the BMW X3. The top three best-selling SUVs in all segments during February 2021 were as follows:

SUV Light (no price range):

  • Mazda CX-3 – 1379 (up from 1344 in January 2021)
  • Toyota Yaris Cross – 653 (up from 541)
  • Volkswagen T-Cross – 563 (up from 494)

SUV Small under $40,000:

  • Mitsubishi ASX – 1489 (up from 1278)
  • Hyundai Kona – 1323 (up from 1091)
  • MG ZS – 1302 (up from 1253)

SUV Small above $40,000:

  • Mercedes-Benz GLA – 372 (up from 365)
  • Audi Q3 – 353 (down from 385)
  • Volvo XC40 – 334 (down from 367)

SUV Medium under $60,000:

  • Toyota RAV4 – 2750 (down from 3066)
  • Mazda CX-5 – 2048 (down from 2081)
  • Mitsubishi Outlander – 1178 (up from 979)

SUV Medium above $60,000:

  • BMW X3 – 416 (up from 358)
  • Mercedes-Benz GLC – 373 (up from 214)
  • Volvo XC60 – 340 (up from 290)

SUV Large under $70,000:

SUV Large above $70,000:

SUV Upper Large under $100,000:

SUV Upper Large above $100,000:

  • Mercedes-Benz G-Class – 73 (down from 96)
  • BMW X7 – 54 (up from 41)
  • Mercedes-Benz GLS – 51 (up from 44)

As mentioned at the start, total new vehicle sales in Australia in February were up on January 2021 figures. During February 2021, Australian consumers bought 83,977 vehicles according to VFACTS, compared with 79,666 in January. Overall sales for the month were up 5.1 per cent compared with February 2020, and up 7.9 per cent YTD.

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. His dream is to live next door to the Nurburgring in Germany.