Australian vehicle sales for September 2020 (VFACTS)

New vehicle sales stats, in the form of VFACTS figures for September 2020, show consumers of new cars are remaining reluctant to make a purchase. This comes as some states battle a second wave of COVID-19 infections and subsequent restrictions. Year-to-date (YTD) sales in country are down 20.5 per cent.

However, VFACTS figures, released this week, show we had a slightly better month in September than in August, compared with last year. The stats, which represent new vehicle registrations, show September 2020 sales are down 21.8 per cent compared with September last year. Meanwhile in August, sales were down 28.8 per cent compared with last August.

Vehicle sales by states and territories – September 2020 VFACTS

wdt_ID Region September sales YTD variance
1 Australian Capital Territory 1382 +21.8%
2 New South Wales 26,014 -17.4%
3 Northern Territory 666 -21.1%
4 Queensland 16,149 -16.6%
5 South Australia 5177 -17.6%
6 Tasmania 1268 -27.7%
7 Victoria 10,447 -32.6%
8 Western Australia 7882 -9.5%

Local consumers bought 68,985 new vehicles during September. This was made up of 26,014 in NSW (-17.4% YTD), 16,149 in QLD (-16.6%), and 10,447 in Victoria (-32.6%). The ACT remains as the only region to report a sales increase, with 1382 units during the month, contributing to a 21.8 per cent increase YTD and 3.4 per cent increase on the month.

Toyota remains at the top of the charts, selling 12,936 vehicles during the month. However, that figure is down 10.3 per cent YTD, and down 14.7 per cent compared with last September. Runner up Mazda reported 7000 sales, down 23.4 per cent YTD, and down 14.3 per cent for the month.

Top 10 best-selling car brands in Australia

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

  1. Toyota – 12,936 (up from 12,449 in August 2020)
  2. Mazda – 7000 (up from 6921)
  3. Hyundai – 5273 (up from 4525)
  4. Kia – 5092 (up from 4521)
  5. Ford – 4816 (up from 3898)
  6. Mitsubishi – 4179 (down from 4308)
  7. Volkswagen – 3493 (up from 2785)
  8. Nissan – 2588 (up from 2380)
  9. Mercedes-Benz – 2395 (up from 2064)
  10. Subaru – 2121 (up from 2052)

Top 10 best-selling vehicles in Australia

In terms of the best-selling vehicle models, the crown has exchanged hands a few times this year. The previous month it was the Toyota RAV4, and before that the ever-popular HiLux. But for September, Ford came through with the most sales of its Ranger ute.

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The HiLux has moved back up near the top, following sixth place in August. This was likely due to the new model arriving and as customers waited for the change-over. RAV4 sales are still going very strong, helping it continue as the best-selling SUV on the market, while the Hyundai i30 becomes the most popular small car for the month. The top 10 best-selling vehicles in Australia during September 2020 were as follows:

  1. Ford Ranger – 3726 (up from 2935 in August 2020)
  2. Toyota HiLux – 3610 (up from 1406)
  3. Toyota RAV4 – 2433 (down from 4825)
  4. Hyundai i30 – 1786 (up from 1429)
  5. Mazda CX-5 – 1765 (down from 1884)
  6. Kia Cerato – 1599 (up from 1264)
  7. Toyota Corolla – 1462 (down from 1464)
  8. Mitsubishi Triton – 1446 (up from 1406)
  9. Hyundai Tucson – 1199 (up from 903)
  10. Toyota Camry – 1192 (up from 910)

Small Cars under $40,000

Here we see Hyundai has posted impressive figures of is i30, outselling the Corolla by over 200 sales. And in fact even the Kia Cerato outsold the Corolla. However, YTD, the Toyota is firmly in the lead with 18,649 sales, against 15,260 i30s and 13,002 Ceratos.

Segment sales are down 33.1 per cent across YTD, and down 28.4 per cent on September last year. See below for the top 10 best-selling small cars in Australia during September 2020:

  1. Hyundai i30 – 1786 (up from 1429 in August 2020)
  2. Kia Cerato – 1599 (up from 1264)
  3. Toyota Corolla – 1462 (down from 1464)
  4. Mazda3 – 1134 (up from 984)
  5. Volkswagen Golf – 924 (up from 544)
  6. Honda Civic – 529 (up from 244)
  7. Subaru Impreza – 361 (up from 214)
  8. Hyundai Elantra –  127 (down from 164)
  9. Ford Focus – 119 (up from 99)
  10. Subaru WRX – 107 (down from 129)

Small Cars over $40,000

It seems this class is one of the only ones reporting an increase in sales over last year. Across YTD, sales are up 15.5 per cent, and up 35.5 per cent for the month. Where were most buyers going? To the Mercedes-Benz showroom by the looks of it, for its A-Class. Sales of the A-Class are up 31 per cent YTD, and up 49.8 per cent for the month.

BMW 1 Series sales are also up 86.5 per cent for the month, and MINI Clubman units are up 53.3 per cent for the month. The top five best-selling vehicles in the segment during September 2020 were as follows:

  1. Mercedes-Benz A-Class – 460 (up from 406)
  2. Audi A3 – 262 (down from 281)
  3. BMW 1 Series – 235 (up from 164)
  4. BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe – 186 (up from 132)
  5. Mercedes-Benz B-Class – 44 (up from 32)

Medium Cars under $60,000

Toyota Camry sales have bounced back a bit after the previous month, contributing to a 0.5 per cent increase on last year’s September effort. Segment figures are dwindling though so far this year, with YTD figures down 24.3 per cent. Sales for the month are down only 7.3 per cent on last September. The top five best-selling vehicles in this class during September 2020 were as follows:

  1. Toyota Camry – 1192 (up from 910 in August)
  2. Skoda Octavia – 227 (up from 182)
  3. Mazda6 – 152 (down from 174)
  4. Subaru Liberty – 119 (up from 74)
  5. Subaru Levorg – 34 (down from 63)

Medium Cars over $60,000

This segment is really close at the top. BMW has sold 2371 3 Series units so far this year, to 2204 Mercedes C-Class sales. However, for the month alone, it’s the C-Class that takes the crown, with the CLA not far behind.

Overall class figures are down 30.5 per cent YTD and down 32.8 per cent for the month. This means it is doing slightly worse than the industry downturn of 20.5 per cent. The top five best-selling vehicles in this class during September were as follows:

  1. Mercedes-Benz C-Class – 283 (up from 155)
  2. BMW 3 Series – 241 (up from 173)
  3. Mercedes-Benz CLA – 213 (down from 239)
  4. Audi A4 – 59 (down from 71)
  5. Lexus IS – 34 (up from 31)

Large Cars under $70,000

In a segment that has definitely seen better days, the Kia Stinger is pretty much the only one holding it together. Holden Commodore sales continue, which is strange considering Holden dealerships are being shut down by the minute and even the official website has been stripped of vehicles. Overall segment sales are down 63.9 per cent YTD, and down 51.9 per cent for the month. The only vehicles on sale in this segment in September reported the following units:

  1. Kia Stinger – 179 (up from 178 in August)
  2. Holden Commodore – 78 (up from 71)
  3. Skoda Superb – 28 (up from 27)

Large Cars over $70,000

Large luxury cars are kicking along, with sales for the month up 25.3 per cent on September last year. However, YTD numbers are down 31.5 per cent. The Mercedes E-Class continues as the favourite, followed by the BMW 5 Series. The top five best-selling vehicles in this class during September 2020 were as follows:

  1. Mercedes-Benz E-Class – 93 (up from 53)
  2. BMW 5 Series – 51 (up from 34)
  3. Audi A6 – 23 (up from 16)
  4. Audi A7 – 20 (up from 6)
  5. Maserati Ghibli – 18 (up from 6)

Sports Car under $80,000

Into the exciting stuff, the Ford Mustang leads the way in the entry category. It’s also posted enough sales to take the number one spot as the most popular sports car outright, both for the month and YTD.

Segment sales are down 26.7 per cent YTD, and down 52.2 per cent for the month. The top five best-selling vehicles in this category during September 2020 were as follows:

  1. Ford Mustang – 145 (down from 147 in August 2020)
  2. Mazda MX-5 – 54 (up from 53)
  3. Hyundai Veloster – 49 (down from 78)
  4. BMW 2 Series – 47 (up from 18)
  5. Toyota 86 – 22 (up from 19)

Sport Cars over $80,000

Up a class, and it’s the Mercedes E-Class two-door that leads the way, followed very closely by its smaller brother, the C-Class two-door. Most of the lineup seems to have remained stable from the previous month, although the Toyota Supra and Porsche Boxster both posted 11 sales. Class figures are down 40.7 per cent YTD, and down 57.8 per cent for the month. The top five best-selling models in this segment during September 2020 were as follows:

  1. Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe/Convertible – 97 (up from 36)
  2. Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe/Convertible – 94 (up from 75)
  3. BMW 4 Series – 23 (down from 25)
  4. Lexus RC – 13 (equal)
  5. Audi A5 – 12 (down from 15)

Sport Cars over $200,000

At the elite end of the spectrum, Porsche posted decent sales of the iconic 911. We also see a lot of zero sales from the rivals, however, Ferrari managed to report an impressive figure. Segment sales are down 24.9 per cent YTD, but up 5.9 per cent for the month. The top five best-selling vehicles in this segment during September 2020 were as follows:

  1. Porsche 911 – 62 (up from 25)
  2. Ferrari Coupe/Convertible (not specified) – 25 (up from 11)
  3. Aston Martin (not specified) – 9 (up from 8)
  4. Bentley Coupe/Convertible – 7 / Mercedes-AMG GT – 7
  5. BMW 8 Series – 4 (down from 10)

Combined 4×2 and 4×4 ute

Here we see not only has the Ford Ranger topped the charts, the launch of the new Isuzu D-Max appears to have seen a healthy jump. This pushed the D-Max straight into fourth spot. The Mazda BT-50 is just about to switch over to the all-new model as well, which might explain its drop to seventh as customers hold off. The top 10 best-selling utes (4×2 and 4×4 combined – excludes LandCruiser, LDV T60, RAM 1500 etc.) for September were as follows:

  1. Ford Ranger – 3710 (up from 2935 in August 2020)
  2. Toyota HiLux –  3610 (up from 1217)
  3. Mitsubishi Triton – 1446 (up from 1406)
  4. Isuzu D-Max – 1118 (up from 197)
  5. Nissan Navara – 1072 (up from 868)
  6. Volkswagen Amarok – 533 (down from 550)
  7. Mazda BT-50 – 522 (down from 638)
  8. Great Wall Steed – 249 (up from 115)
  9. Mercedes-Benz X-Class – 187 (up from 174)
  10. Holden Colorado – 111 (down from 171)

For the utes that feature 4×4 only, it was of course the Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series that claimed top spot. A new model is about to arrive, which could see sales spike even higher over the coming months. The top five best-selling 4×4-exclusive utes during September 2020 were as follows:

  1. Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series – 609 (down from 740 in August 2020)
  2. LDV T60 – 582 (up from 420)
  3. RAM 1500 Express, Laramie and Warlock – 286 (up from 244)
  4. Jeep Gladiator – 70 (up from 45)
  5. SsangYong Musso – 64 (down from 87)

Over in the SUV classes, the ‘Medium below $60k’ segment was the most popular for the month. It reported 10,313 units, down 17.4 per cent YTD and down 28.1 per cent for the month. The ‘Small below $40k’ SUV category reported 7203 sales, which is down 25.6 per cent on last September. However, YTD figures are down only 9.9 per cent. Lastly, the ‘Large below $70k’ class completes the top three favourite classes, with 6405 sales. This class is down 20.8 per cent YTD and down 22.7 per cent for the month.

Best-selling SUVs in all segments

As for the best-sellers, the Toyota RAV4 takes the overall top podium position for the month. Meanwhile the best-selling luxury SUV was the BMW X3. The top three best-selling SUVs in all classes during September 2020 were as follows:

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

  • Mazda CX-3 – 1188 (up from 1136 in August)
  • Hyundai Venue – 365 (up from 357)
  • Volkswagen T-Cross – 364 (up from 215)

SUV Small under $40,000:

SUV Small above $40,000:

  • Audi Q3 – 362 (up from 159)
  • BMW X1 – 351 (up from 164)
  • Volvo XC40 – 293 (up from 225)

SUV Medium under $60,000:

SUV Medium above $60,000:

  • BMW X3 – 407 (up from 302)
  • Mercedes-Benz GLC – 295 (down from 385)
  • Volvo XC60 – 273 (up from 237)

SUV Large under $70,000:

SUV Large above $70,000:

  • BMW X5 – 212 (up from 197)
  • Mercedes-Benz GLE – 190 (up from 171)
  • Audi Q7 – 137 (up from 80)

SUV Upper Large under $100,000:

SUV Upper Large above $100,000:

Total new vehicle sales in Australia in September were up on August 2020 figures. During September, Australian consumers bought 68,985 vehicles according to VFACTS, compared with 60,986 in August. Overall sales for the month were down 21.8 per cent compared with September 2019, and down 20.5 per cent 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.