Australian vehicle sales for January 2021 (VFACTS)

Following a pretty miserable year in 2020 for the new car market in Australia, 2021 has kicked off with a positive. An 11.1 per cent positive, to be exact. New vehicle registration figures, in the form of January 2021 VFACTS, show the local market is on the mend.

Consumers purchased 79,666 new vehicles in January, which is up 11.1 per cent on the 71,731 units registered in January last year. Our guess is this positive trend will continue throughout this year against the low numbers recorded throughout 2020, mainly due to the coronavirus pandemic.

At the top of the charts, Toyota has once again set the benchmark. It sold 16,819 vehicles in January, up 13.6 per cent on last January. Mazda crossed the line in second spot, with 8508 sales (up 27.1 per cent), with Hyundai rounding out the top three with 5951 sales (up 9.3 per cent).

Top 10 best-selling car brands in Australia

See below for the top 10 best-selling car brands in Australia during January 2021. The figures in brackets are from the previous month.

  1. Toyota – 16,819 (down from 23,470 in December 2020)
  2. Mazda – 8508 (down from 8556)
  3. Hyundai – 5951 (down from 6734)
  4. Kia – 5500 (up from 4700)
  5. Mitsubishi – 5179 (down from 6380)
  6. Ford – 5099 (down from 6306)
  7. Nissan – 3756 (down from 4216)
  8. Subaru – 3223 (down from 3402)
  9. Volkswagen – 2722 (down from 3291)
  10. Mercedes-Benz – 2443 (down from 3150)

Top 10 best-selling vehicles in Australia

First off the rank, the Toyota HiLux sets the pace for 2021. It easily  outsold its closest competitor, the Ford Ranger, and almost doubled the sales of the best-selling passenger car, the Corolla. However, HiLux sales, and ute sales overall, dropped quite a bit compared with December figures.

The new Isuzu D-Max is hanging there, dropping from sixth spot in December to eighth, while the Kia Cerato is back into the top 10. The top 10 best-selling vehicles in Australia during January 2021 were as follows:

  1. Toyota HiLux – 3913 (down from 5572 in December 2020)
  2. Ford Ranger – 3120 (down from 4265)
  3. Toyota RAV4 – 3066 (down from 3542)
  4. Mazda CX-5 – 2081 (up from 2060)
  5. Toyota Corolla – 2062 (down from 2516)
  6. Hyundai i30 – 1952 (down from 1996)
  7. Mitsubishi Triton – 1908 (up from 1575)
  8. Isuzu D-Max – 1822 (down from 2409)
  9. Nissan X-Trail – 1593 (down from 1822)
  10. Kia Cerato – 1545 (up from 1313)

Small Cars under $40,000

Over in the small car market the Corolla sets the pace. Sales for the favourite are down 13 per cent however, but overall segment sales are down 18.9 per cent compared with January last year.

The Hyundai i30 also reported a drop of 4.2 per cent, while the Mazda3 (up 12.9 per cent) and Kia Cerato (up 3.0 per cent) returned some gains. See below for the top 10 best-selling small cars in Australia during January 2021:

  1. Toyota Corolla – 2062 (down from 2516 in December 2020)
  2. Hyundai i30 – 1952 (down from 1996)
  3. Kia Cerato – 1545 (up from 1313)
  4. Mazda3 – 1501 (up from 1319)
  5. Honda Civic – 576 (down from 641)
  6. Subaru Impreza – 374 (up from 297)
  7. Ford Focus – 117 (up from 95)
  8. Subaru WRX – 81 (down from 109)
  9. Skoda Scala – 51 (up from 0)
  10. Hyundai Ioniq – 38 (up from 28)

Small Cars over $40,000

As for the premium small cars, the Mercedes A-Class continues its stride from last year. Although, figures are down 9.5 per cent on January 2020. BMW 1 Series sales are up 7.2 per cent in contrast, while Audi A3 figures are down 34 per cent.

This class reported 885 sales during the month, which is up 1.5 per cent on the 872 units sold in January last year. The top five best-selling vehicles in the class during January 2021 were as follows:

  1. Mercedes-Benz A-Class – 323 (down from 530)
  2. BMW 1 Series – 223 (up from 142)
  3. Audi A3 – 124 (down from 201)
  4. BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe – 117 (down from 127)
  5. Mercedes-Benz B-Class – 42 (up from 41)

Medium Cars under $60,000

The humble Toyota Camry remains the king here, with 815 sales for the first month of the year. That’s down 21 per cent on the same month last year. All models in this class saw a drop in figures except the Subaru Liberty, which, ironically, is exiting the Australian market altogether this year. Liberty sales are up 289 per cent.

Class figures combined dropped 15.1 per cent, to 1317 units. The top five best-selling vehicles in this class during January 2021 were as follows:

  1. Toyota Camry – 815 (down from 1280 in December)
  2. Subaru Liberty – 183 (up from 124)
  3. Skoda Octavia – 153 (down from 214)
  4. Mazda6 – 114 (down from 148)
  5. Volkswagen Passat – 19 (down from 35)

Medium Cars over $60,000

Moving to the upper class mid-sizers, the Mercedes C-Class gets off to a commanding lead. It managed almost four times the sales of its arch rival, the BMW 3 Series. C-Class sales are also up 46.9 per cent on the same month last year.

Segment sales overall are down just 0.9 per cent, with 953 units compared with 962 in January last year. The top five best-selling vehicles in this class during January were as follows:

  1. Mercedes-Benz C-Class – 398 (down from 509)
  2. BMW 3 Series – 139 (down from 302)
  3. Lexus IS – 96 (down from 111)
  4. Mercedes-Benz CLA – 92 (down from 175)
  5. Audi A5 Sportback – 83 (up from 36)

Large Cars under $70,000

The Holden Commodore reported zero sales in January. As a final nail in the coffin, Holden made zero sales during the month overall. While there might be a few models left in some yards, this pretty much spells the complete end to the iconic Aussie brand.

Kia saw a little spike in sales of its Stinger, likely helped by the recent arrival of the 2021 model year update. Compared with January last year Stinger sales are up 40 per cent. Overall class figures, which only includes the Skoda Superb and Stinger, reported a 50.4 per cent drop. Only 195 vehicles were sold, down from 393 during the same month last year. The only vehicles on sale here during January reported the following figures:

  1. Kia Stinger – 147 (up from 117 in December)
  2. Skoda Superb – 48 (up from 33)
  3. Holden Commodore – 0 (down from 1)

Large Cars over $70,000

Most large luxury sedan (and wagon) buyers flocked to the Mercedes E-Class in January, with sales up 28.9 per cent for the Stuttgart-born favourite. BMW managed 32 sales of its 5 Series, which is down 39.6 per cent, while Audi A6 sales are up 360 per cent.

We see Porsche Taycan sales are on the board, with 13 during January. The official media launch will take place in mid-February, while the official on-sale date is set for February 27. This will be an interesting space to watch.

Segment sales topped 160 units, which is up 10.3 per cent on the same month last year. The top five best-selling vehicles in this segment during January 2021 were as follows:

  1. Mercedes-Benz E-Class – 58 (down from 76)
  2. BMW 5 Series – 32 (down from 83)
  3. Audi A6 – 23 (down from 29)
  4. Audi A7 – 14 (up from 12)
  5. Porsche Taycan – 13 (new model)

Sports Cars under $80,000

Kicking off the driver’s cars, the Ford Mustang puts the highest runs on the board. Mazda MX-5 jumps into second spot, likely thanks to the mild update announced recently, with the Hyundai Veloster rounding out the top three.

Mustang figures are up 39.9 per cent on the same month last year, and MX-5 numbers are up 1.9 per cent, but the Veloster figures are down 40 per cent. Overall segment sales are down 2.2 per cent. The top five best-selling vehicles in this segment during January 2021 were as follows:

  1. Ford Mustang – 361 (up from 334 in December 2020)
  2. Mazda MX-5 – 53 (up from 41)
  3. Hyundai Veloster – 45 (down from 53)
  4. BMW 2 Series – 40 (down from 44)
  5. Toyota 86 – 32 (equal)

Sport Cars over $80,000

Mid-range market-hunters seem to be chasing the Mercedes C-Class two-door the most, while the new BMW 4 Series isn’t too far behind. Sales of the C-Class two-door are down 33 per cent compared with the same month last year, while 4 Series figures are up 83.3 per cent, likely thanks to the new model.

Class figures are down 20.8 per cent, with 225 units. The top five best-selling models in this segment during January 2021 were as follows:

  1. Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe/Convertible – 73 (down from 153)
  2. BMW 4 Series – 55 (down from 86)
  3. Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe/Convertible – 23 (down from 36)
  4. Audi A5 – 17 (up from 13)
  5. Lexus RC – 16 (down from 17)

Sport Cars over $200,000

Here we see the Porsche 911 remains the king of the top-end sports and supercar segment. Although, with 33 units on the board that’s down 29.8 per cent on the same month last year.

Ferrari sales are off to a similar start, with figures down 42.9 per cent. However, Lamborghini is seeing a big positive of 166.7 per cent, with 8 units up from 3 in January last year.

The segment reported 89 sales during the month, down 24.6 per cent. See below for the top five best-selling vehicles in this class during January 2021:

  1. Porsche 911 – 33 (up from 30 in December)
  2. Ferrari Coupe/Convertible (not specified) – 16 (equal)
  3. Aston Martin Coupe/Convertible – 9 (up from 7)
  4. Lamborghini Coupe/Convertible – 8 (up from 3)
  5. Bentley Coupe/Convertible (not specified) – 7 (down from 9)

Combined 4×2 and 4×4 utes

It looks like VFACTS has made some changes to the reporting of the ute segment, with only 9 models in the 4×2 class now. The Holden Ute and the VW Amarok 4×2 have been removed. This means we’ll show the top 9 combined figures from now on.

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

  1. Toyota HiLux –  3913 (down from 5572 in December 2020)
  2. Ford Ranger – 3120 (down from 4265)
  3. Mitsubishi Triton – 1908 (up from 1575)
  4. Isuzu D-Max – 1822 (down from 2409)
  5. Mazda BT-50 – 1047 (up from 1024)
  6. Nissan Navara – 920 (down from 1148)
  7. Volkswagen Amarok – 546 (up from 143)
  8. Great Wall Steed – 92 (down from 141)
  9. Mercedes-Benz X-Class – 19 (down from 236)

In terms of the 4×4-only utes, we welcomed the GWM Cannon (noted as the GWM Ute by VFACTS) to the segment recently, and it’s off to a great start. LandCruiser 70 Series utes set the pace though, with 889 units, remarkably up 74 per cent compared with the same month last year. Toyota Australia has announced a slight update for the rugged model, introducing a touch-screen, which could be influencing the hike. The top five best-selling 4×4 utes during January 2021 were as follows:

  1. Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series – 889 (down from 1327 in December 2020)
  2. LDV T60 – 375 (down from 846)
  3. GWM Ute – 277 (up from 109)
  4. SsangYong Musso – 133 (down from 193)
  5. RAM 1500 Express, Laramie and Warlock – 119 (down from 260)

Last but not least, the SUVs saw some decent jumps in most classes. The newish ‘SUV Light’ jumped 61.3 per cent, with the ‘Small below $40k’ also rising 30.7 per cent compared with January 2020. Interestingly, the ‘Large above $70k’ class also reported an 18.2 per cent increase.

Best-selling SUVs in all segments

It looks like the Toyota RAV4 is setting the trend for the start of 2021, reporting the highest figure of all SUVs. In terms of premium SUVs, the Audi Q3 reported the highest sales. The top three best-selling SUVs in all segments during January 2021 were as follows:

SUV Light (no price range):

  • Mazda CX-3 – 1344 (up from 1333 in December 2020)
  • Toyota Yaris Cross – 541 (up from 517)
  • Volkswagen T-Cross – 494 (up from 440)

SUV Small under $40,000:

SUV Small above $40,000:

  • Audi Q3 – 385 (down from 660)
  • Volvo XC40 – 367 (down from 469)
  • Mercedes-Benz GLA – 365 (down from 489)

SUV Medium under $60,000:

SUV Medium above $60,000:

SUV Large under $70,000:

SUV Large above $70,000:

  • BMW X5 – 302 (down from 367)
  • Mercedes-Benz GLE – 262 (up from 193)
  • Audi Q7 – 177 (down from 234)

SUV Upper Large under $100,000:

SUV Upper Large above $100,000:

  • Mercedes-Benz G-Class – 96 (up from 64)
  • Mercedes-Benz GLS – 44 (down from 47)
  • BMW X7 – 41 (down from 80)

Total new vehicle sales in Australia in January were down on December 2020 figures. During January 2021, Australian consumers bought 79,666 vehicles according to VFACTS, compared with 95,652 in December. Overall sales for the month were up 11.1 per cent compared with January 2020.