Australian vehicle sales for January 2020 (VFACTS)

Can you believe we’re already into the second month of the year? The Australian VFACTS figures for new vehicle registrations for January 2020 are already out, giving us a clear look at what new cars are off to a racing start.

Kicking off with the brands, Toyota sets out a commanding lead from the get-go, as expected. However, as the local market continues its reluctance to buy new vehicles, with overall year-to-date/January numbers down 12.5 per cent compared with January last year, Toyota pushes against that with its number down only 7.2 per cent.

Interestingly, we notice that many of the Chinese car brands are reporting increases compared with January last year. And not just because they didn’t report any figures back then. Great Wall (125 units) is up 76.1 per cent. LDV (384) is up 64.8 per cent. MG (919) is up 82.7 per cent. And Haval is up an impressive 443.2 per cent. Haval sold 201 vehicles last month, compared with 37 in January 2019.

Porsche is also off to a flying start, selling 410 vehicles, up 121.6 per on the 185 units it shifted in the same month last year. Other good-starters included Chrysler (up 47.4 per cent), Land Rover (up 35.2 per cent), and Volvo (up 28.3 per cent).

See below for the top 10 best-selling car brands of January 2o20. As usual, the figures in brackets are from the previous month, not YTD, so we can see how models are tracking throughout the year.

  1. Toyota – 14,809 (down from 17,309 of December 2019 sales)
  2. Mazda – 6695 (up from 6025)
  3. Hyundai – 5443 (up from 5339)
  4. Mitsubishi – 5108 (down from 7072)
  5. Kia – 4705 (down from 4940)
  6. Ford – 4169 (down from 4842)
  7. Nissan – 3444 (down from 3949)
  8. Honda – 3436 (down from 3612)
  9. Volkswagen – 3246 (down from 4076)
  10. Holden – 2641 (down from 3207)

Zooming in on the most popular vehicle models for the first month of the year, the Toyota HiLux sets the standard. It was followed closely by the Ford Ranger, with the Toyota Corolla crossing the line with the most sales for a passenger car. The Toyota RAV4 also collected big numbers, making it the most popular SUV for the month. The top 10 best-selling vehicles in Australia during January 2020 were as follows:

  1. Toyota HiLux – 2968 (down from 3917 in December 2019)
  2. Ford Ranger – 2624 (down from 3348)
  3. Toyota Corolla – 2370 (down from 2777)
  4. Toyota RAV4 – 2290 (up from 2212)
  5. Mitsubishi Triton – 2075 (down from 2315)
  6. Hyundai i30 – 2038 (up from 1935)
  7. Mazda CX-5 – 1859 (up from 1828)
  8. Kia Cerato – 1500 (up from 1487)
  9. Nissan X-Trail – 1467 (down from 1532)
  10. Mazda3 – 1330 (up from 1285)

Small Cars under $40,000 – It’s not as demanding as it once was, this class. But we see the Toyota Corolla is still going strong, along with the Hyundai i30. The Mazda3 is falling behind, likely due to the new model which has become more expensive and less practical in our opinion.

This has left the door open for the Kia Cerato to walk up into third spot. The segment overall is reporting a 25.5 per cent drop in sales compared with January last year. See below for the top 10 best-selling small cars in Australia during January 2020:

  1. Toyota Corolla – 2370 (down from 2777 in December 2019)
  2. Hyundai i30 – 2038 (up from 1935)
  3. Kia Cerato – 1500 (up from 1487)
  4. Mazda3 – 1330 (up from 1285)
  5. Volkswagen Golf – 1119 (up from 1091)
  6. Honda Civic – 901 (up from 870)
  7. Subaru Impreza – 286 (down from 323)
  8. Ford Focus – 181 (down from 230)
  9. Hyundai Elantra –  178 (up from 159)
  10. Holden Astra – 121 (down from 141)

Small Cars over $40,000 – Up into the premium version of the above, and it’s the Mercedes-Benz A-Class that sets the pace. BMW’s new 1 Series seems to be trickling along okay, while the Audi A3 isn’t far behind. The top five best-selling vehicles in this segment during January 2020 were as follows:

  1. Mercedes-Benz A-Class – 357 (down from 456)
  2. BMW 1 Series – 208 (up from 184)
  3. Audi A3 – 188 (down from 334)
  4. Nissan LEAF – 30 (up from 26)
  5. Mercedes-Benz B-Class – 29 (down from 186)/MINI Clubman – 29 (up from 22)

Medium Cars under $60,000 – Toyota is once again off the winning start with the Camry in this class. However, the numbers for the remaining vehicles look frighteningly weak. Peugeot’s stylish new 508 has been shifted into this class for 2020 by the looks of it, but even it is reporting very low numbers, with just 16 sales.

The Subaru Levorg (36), Ford Mondeo (19) and the Honda Accord (21) almost seem like they have been hidden from showrooms, their figures were that low. The segment overall is seeing a 23.7 per cent drop in figures compared with January last year. See below for the top 10 best-selling vehicles in this class during January 2020:

  1. Toyota Camry – 1032 (down from 1248 of December)
  2. Skoda Octavia – 177 (up from 142)
  3. Mazda6 – 142 (down from 157)
  4. Volkswagen Passat – 50 (down from 65)
  5. Subaru Liberty – 47 (down from 51)

Medium Cars over $60,000 – Over in the premium class, the BMW 3 Series has finally set the leading pace. We’ve been waiting for it to overtake the long-standing Mercedes C-Class, mainly because the C-Class is now quite an old model in comparison. Further down, the Lexus ES jumps into the top five. The top five best-selling vehicles in this class during January were as follows:

  1. BMW 3 Series – 294 (down from 305)
  2. Mercedes-Benz C-Class – 271 (down from 556)
  3. Audi A5 Sportback – 87 (up from 78)
  4. Audi A4 – 72 (down from 125)
  5. Lexus ES – 58 (up from 42)

Large Cars under $70,000 – It’s now down to just three cars, sadly. This segment is reporting a 33.3 per cent drop in popularity for the first month compared with last year. And it’s the Holden Commodore that continues with the lead. As we know, Holden will be retiring the nameplate forever by the end of this year, and then it will be down to just two. The only vehicles on sale in this segment in January shaped up like this:

  1. Holden Commodore – 268 (down from 498 in December)
  2. Kia Stinger – 105 (down from 128)
  3. Skoda Superb – 20 (down from 37)

Large Cars over $70,000 – Upsizing to the premium class and we see things are pretty grim as well. Overall segment sales are down 52.8 per cent compared with the same month last year. BMW sold more 5 Series models than the arch rival Mercedes E-Class, while all remaining models reported minuscule numbers. The top five best-selling vehicles in this segment during January were as follows:

  1. BMW 5 Series – 53 (up from 12)
  2. Mercedes-Benz E-Class – 45 (down from 112)
  3. Maserati Ghibli – 7 (down from 8)
  4. Audi A7 – 6/Genesis G80 – 6/Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class – 6
  5. Audi A6 – 5 (down from 27)

Sports Car under $80,000 – A change of mood and into the smile-inducing stuff. The Ford Mustang continues its popularity from last year, setting the benchmark for January. BMW reported decent numbers of the 2 Series, and the new Hyundai Veloster is doing pretty well too. Segment sales are down 18.7 per cent compared with last January. The top five best-selling vehicles in this class during January were as follows:

  1. Ford Mustang – 258 (up from 245 of December)
  2. BMW 2 Series Coupe/Convertible – 101 (up from 58)
  3. Hyundai Veloster – 75 (up from 45)
  4. Mazda MX-5 – 52 (up from 21)
  5. Subaru BRZ – 29 (down from 36)
    (Subaru WRX – 98 [up from 95] – not officially in this segment, shown for comparison)

Sport Cars over $80,000 – Stepping up a notch, and it’s the Mercedes C-Class two-door that leads the charge once again. In fact, it easily outpaced all rivals in January. Looking down the list and we see the new Toyota Supra isn’t as popular as we might have predicted, with just 18 units sold, while the platform-sharing brother, the BMW Z4, shifted 25 units. Segment sales overall are down 24.1 per cent for the month/YTD. The top five best-selling models in this segment during January were as follows:

  1. Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe/Convertible – 109 (down from 227)
  2. BMW 4 Series – 30 (up from 8)
  3. Audi A5 – 25 (up from 21)/BMW Z4 – 25 (up from 6)
  4. Porsche 718 Cayman – 19 (up from 11)
  5. Toyota Supra – 18 (down from 23)

Sport Cars over $200,000 – At the top of the sports car kingdom, the Porsche 911 sets the winning pace for January. It was our favourite car of 2019, as outlined in our top 10 recently, and the popularity is only set to rise thanks to the arrival of some new variants this year. Ferrari also posted very impressive numbers, setting itself up for a great start to the year. Overall segment sales are actually up 2.6 per cent. The top five best-selling vehicles in this segment during January were as follows:

  1. Porsche 911 – 47 (up from 16)
  2. Ferrari (not specified) – 28 (up from 14)
  3. Bentley Coupe and Convertible – 9 (down from 16)
  4. Aston Martin (not specified) – 8 (down from 14)/BMW 8 Series – 8 (up from 0)
  5. McLaren (not specified) – 4 (down from 9)/Nissan GT-R – 4 (up from 1)

Combined 4×2 and 4×4 ute – Over in the increasingly popular ute class, the Toyota HiLux obviously takes the crown. It looks like the familiar favourites make up the rest of the list, with the Colorado moving into fourth place from fifth in December, and the Navara moving up to fifth from sixth, leaving the Isuzu D-Max to sixth from fourth in December. The top 10 best-selling utes (4×2 and 4×4 combined – excludes LandCruiser, RAM 1500 and 2500) for January were as follows:

  1. Toyota HiLux – 2968 (down from 3917 from December)
  2. Ford Ranger – 2624 (down from 3348)
  3. Mitsubishi Triton – 2075 (down from 2315)
  4. Holden Colorado – 1152 (down from 1366)
  5. Nissan Navara – 778 (down from 1030)
  6. Isuzu D-Max – 680 (down from 1880)
  7. Mazda BT-50 – 595 (down from 640)
  8. Volkswagen Amarok – 537 (down from 706)
  9. LDV T60 – 207 (down from 267)
  10. Great Wall Steed – 125 (up from 93)

To the SUVs, we see the VFACTS report has been shuffled around a bit. More specifically, there’s a new ‘SUV Light’ class, which includes the Mazda CX-3, Hyundai Venue, and Suzuki Jimny and others.

The Small SUV category remains, with the Mitsubishi ASX, Hyundai Kona, and the new Mazda CX-30 making up some of the field. We’re guessing the classes have been divided up a bit due to the sheer volume of different models now, such as the new Kia Seltos and Renault Kadjar joining the market. In the large class the Land Rover Discovery has also be shifted up to the Upper Large segment.

We will continue to go over the popular segments and their year-to-date figures throughout the year, but to start with we’ll simply introduce the new Light class and list the top threes as usual. The top three best-selling SUVs in all categories in January 2020 were as follows:

Total new vehicle sales in Australia in January were down on December 2019 figures. During January, Australian consumers bought 71,731 vehicles according to VFACTS, compared with 84,239 in December. Overall sales for the month were down 12.5 per cent compared with January 2019, and obviously down the same 12.5 per cent across year-to-date.

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.