Australian vehicle sales for July 2020 (VFACTS)

As expected new car sales are down considerably compared with June as we enter the new financial year, according to July 2020 VFACTS figures. The coronavirus pandemic looks like it is continuing to contribute as well, in a number of ways, to a general market downturn. Slow supplies due to production halts, spending fears among consumers in these unpredictable times, and even social distancing restrictions and anxieties are all likely factors in the sales slump.

So, what do the figures look like exactly? Well, during July the industry recorded just 72,505 new vehicle registrations (although not technically ‘sales’, we will call them sales from here for brevity and simplicity). That’s down from 110,234 sales in June, which likely saw many buyers getting their last purchases in before the end of the financial year. July figures are down 12.8 per cent on July 2019 sales too. The year-to-date (YTD) variance is up from negative 20.2 per cent in the first six months of the year, to negative 19.2 per cent through July.

Toyota remains as the best-selling car manufacturer. But even it isn’t immune. Its July efforts of 15,508 sales are down 13.2 per cent on July 2019 sales. However, its YTD number is down only 7.7 per cent, against the market downturn of 19.2 per cent. We’ll mention it later as well but the new HiLux, arriving in August, is likely to see a decent uptick for the upcoming months.

Mazda crossed the line in second place once again, with its monthly figure down only 5.1 per cent. Across YTD though, the Japanese brand is down 26.6 per cent. In third place is Mitsubishi, jumping from fifth place in June. Compared with July 2019, its figure is down 10.7 per cent, and YTD numbers are down 32.1 per cent.

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

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  1. Toyota – 15,508 (down from 22,867 in June 2020)
  2. Mazda – 7806 (down from 9420)
  3. Mitsubishi – 4684 (down from 7419)
  4. Hyundai – 4634 (down from 7737)
  5. Kia – 4625 (down from 5727)
  6. Ford – 4573 (down from 7624)
  7. Volkswagen – 3710 (down from 5737)
  8. Nissan – 2906 (down from 4260)
  9. Subaru – 2864 (down from 3775)
  10. Mercedes-Benz – 2556 (down from 4437)

Who’s responsible for the best-selling vehicle model? Toyota, of course. But it isn’t the HiLux. For the first time for as far as we can remember, the ute wasn’t the best-seller. Instead, it was the RAV4. It posted huge numbers in July, perhaps as the high demand and backlog of orders starts to roll in.

Interestingly, the runner-up wasn’t the HiLux either. The Ford Ranger was the second most popular new vehicle during July. And then third spot was eventually taken by the HiLux. We have a sneaking suspicion HiLux numbers are down because orders for the new, more powerful version are yet to arrive. These are scheduled to start arriving some time this month. The top 10 best-selling vehicles in Australia during July 2020 were as follows:

  1. Toyota RAV4 – 4309 (up from 2632 in June 2020)
  2. Ford Ranger – 3104 (down from 5329)
  3. Toyota HiLux – 2947 (down from 6537)
  4. Toyota Corolla – 2192 (down from 3008)
  5. Hyundai i30 – 1745 (down from 2368)
  6. Mazda CX-5 – 1727 (down from 2530)
  7. Mitsubishi Triton – 1593 (down from 2721)
  8. Mazda CX-3 – 1355 (up from 1157)
  9. Toyota Camry – 1281 (up from 1123)

Small Cars under $40,000 – Over in the once very popular small car class, the Toyota Corolla set the pace. Hyundai posted respectable numbers for its i30 though, good enough for second place. The Mazda3 moved back into third after the Kia Cerato took it in June. Sadly, the Holden Astra has almost dropped off the charts completely, posting just 61 sales. Segment sales are down 31.6 per cent YTD, and down 29.7 per cent on July 2019 efforts. See below for the top 10 best-selling small cars in Australia during July 2020:

  1. Toyota Corolla – 2192 (down from 3008 in June 2020)
  2. Hyundai i30 – 1745 (down from 2368)
  3. Mazda3 – 1224 (down from 1722)
  4. Kia Cerato – 1207 (down from 2016)
  5. Volkswagen Golf – 800 (down from 1407)
  6. Subaru Impreza – 400 (up from 353)
  7. Honda Civic – 360 (down from 778)
  8. Ford Focus – 229 (down from 248)
  9. Hyundai Elantra –  167 (down from 220)
  10. Subaru WRX – 91 (up from 78)

Small Cars over $40,000 – Into the premium version of above and things aren’t looking so grim. Segment sales are actually up 13.4 per cent YTD, and up 18 per cent for the month. This was mainly driven by the Mercedes A-Class, with its sales up 29.8 per cent and 57.2 per cent, respectively. Audi A3 figures also look good for the month. The top five best-selling vehicles in the segment during July 2020 were as follows:

  1. Mercedes-Benz A-Class – 588 (down from 901)
  2. Audi A3 – 331 (down from 358)
  3. BMW 1 Series – 98 (down from 397)
  4. BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe – 92 (down from 256)
  5. Mercedes-Benz B-Class – 65 (down from 98)

Medium Cars under $60,000 – The Toyota Camry is still going strong here. In fact, its monthly figure is actually up compared with June – you’d think many business and fleet car buyers would be making their purchase before the financial year. As usual, none of the nearest rivals got close. Combined class sales are down 25 per cent YTD, and down 20.1 per cent compared with last July. The top 10 best-selling vehicles in this class during July 2020 were as follows:

  1. Toyota Camry – 1281 (up from 1123 in June)
  2. Skoda Octavia – 192 (up from 152)
  3. Mazda6 – 122 (down from 177)
  4. Subaru Liberty – 104 (down from 139)
  5. Volkswagen Passat – 51 (down from 76)

Medium Cars over $60,000 – Executive class figures aren’t shaping up all that well. Segment sales are down 29.2 per cent YTD and down 34 per cent for the month. It seems it’s the Mercedes C-Class’s turn to take the lead, with it and the BMW 3 Series pretty much alternating the top spot from month to month. However, during July the 3 Series dropped down to third spot. The top five best-selling vehicles in this class during July were as follows:

  1. Mercedes-Benz C-Class – 299 (down from 492)
  2. Mercedes-Benz CLA – 236 (down from 315)
  3. BMW 3 Series – 84 (down from 561)
  4. Audi A4 – 83 (down from 133)
  5. Volvo S60 – 63 (up from 32)

Large Cars under $70,000 – This looks like it’ll be a single-car segment soon. The Kia Stinger appears to be doing its best to hold it together, while the Holden Commodore posted more sales than the Skoda Superb. And that’s despite the Commodore going out of production. So far this year Holden has sold 711 Commodores, to just 129 Superbs. The Stinger has posted 1048 sales YTD. Overall sales in this class are down 65.1 per cent YTD, and down 48.6 per cent for the month. The only vehicles on sale in this segment in July shaped up like this:

  1. Kia Stinger – 197 (down from 247 in June)
  2. Holden Commodore – 103 (up from 43)
  3. Skoda Superb – 40 (up from 25)

Large Cars over $70,000 – Premium large sedans aren’t doing as bad. Across YTD, the segment is reporting a 36.8 per cent drop, and a 12.1 per cent decline for the month compared with July 2019. The Mercedes E-Class posted the most sales, with the BMW 5 Series in second. Again, these two seem to alternate the top spot month to month, almost exactly in turn. The Audi A6 rounded out the top three. The top five best-selling vehicles in this class during July 2020 were as follows:

  1. Mercedes-Benz E-Class – 67 (down from 127)
  2. BMW 5 Series – 40 (down from 130)
  3. Audi A6 – 17 (down from 27)
  4. Mercedes-Benz CLS – 16 (up from 7)
  5. Maserati Ghibli – 8 (down from 10)

Sports Car under $80,000 – Into the fun stuff, and of course the world’s most popular new sports car continues to set the pace. The Hyundai Veloster remains in second spot from the previous month, and then it’s the Toyota 86 to round out the top three. Class sales are down 21.6 per cent YTD, but up 10.6 per cent for the month. The top five best-selling vehicles in this segment during July 2020 were as follows:

  1. Ford Mustang – 279 (down from 419 in June 2020)
  2. Hyundai Veloster – 72 (up from 66)
  3. Toyota 86 – 49 (up from 33)
  4. Mazda MX-5 – 40 (up from 19)
  5. Subaru BRZ – 27 (down from 33)

Sport Cars over $80,000 – In the more serious stuff, Mercedes continues its domination with the two-door C-Class, followed by the two-door E-Class. BMW will launch its all-new 4 Series later this year, which could see some shuffling about with these figures. The Toyota Supra joins the top five in July, while the 4 Series and Lexus RC share fifth spot. Segment sales are down 36.2 per cent YTD, and down 33.1 per cent for the month. The top five best-selling models in this segment during July 2020 were as follows:

  1. Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe/Convertible – 92 (down from 196)
  2. Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe/Convertible – 50 (up from 41)
  3. Toyota Supra – 20 (equal)
  4. Audi A5 – 18 (down from 23)
  5. BMW 4 Series – 15 (down from 74) / Lexus RC – 15 (down from 26)

Sport Cars over $200,000 – In the very serious end of the driver’s car market, segment sales are down 28.9 per cent YTD. However, for the month of July, it’s only negative 6.8 per cent. That’s not too bad considering these times. Porsche continues its charge with the most sales, actually up 39.1 per cent compared with July last year. The BMW 8 Series remains in second spot, followed by unspecified Ferrari models in third. The top five best-selling vehicles in this class during July 2020 were as follows:

  1. Porsche 911 – 32 (down from 34)
  2. BMW 8 Series – 14 (down from 16)
  3. Ferrari Coupe/Convertible (not specified) – 12 (up from 10)
  4. Aston Martin (not specified) – 8 / Maserati Coupe/Convertible – 8 / McLaren (not specified) – 8
  5. Lamborghini Coupe/Convertible (not specified) – 7 (equal)

Combined 4×2 and 4×4 ute – Yes, it’s time for the utes. As we saw earlier, the Ford Ranger took the lead for overall ute sales in July, followed by the HiLux. The Triton remains in third from June, with the BT-50 also sitting steady. Further down, we’d expect the Isuzu D-Max to see a spike next month thanks to the launch of the all-new model, with the new Mazda BT-50, borrowing the Isuzu’s underpinnings, arriving a bit later this year. The top 10 best-selling utes (4×2 and 4×4 combined – excludes LandCruiser, LDV T60, RAM 1500 etc.) for July were as follows:

  1. Ford Ranger – 3104 (down from 5329 in June 2020)
  2. Toyota HiLux –  2947 (down from 6537)
  3. Mitsubishi Triton – 1593 (down from 2721)
  4. Mazda BT-50 – 1012 (down from 1768)
  5. Nissan Navara – 871 (down from 1465)
  6. Volkswagen Amarok – 707 (down from 1229)
  7. Isuzu D-Max – 705 (down from 1642)
  8. Holden Colorado – 390 (down from 862)
  9. Mercedes-Benz X-Class – 232 (down from 372)
  10. Great Wall Steed – 170 (down from 243)

For utes that are only available with 4×4, it’s the Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series that sticks in the lead. Actually, the top five standings remain unchanged from June, albeit with lower numbers across the board. The top five best-selling 4×4-exclusive utes during July 2020 were as follows:

  1. Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series – 705 (down from 1388 in June 2020)
  2. LDV T60 – 437 (down from 618)
  3. RAM 1500 Express and Laramie – 279 (down from 602)
  4. SsangYong Musso – 111 (down from 140)
  5. Jeep Gladiator – 33 (down from 90)

The jumped-up wagons and four-door coupes of the world continue to maintain a large chunk of the overall market. So how are the most popular segments doing? The ‘Medium below $60k’ category continues in front, with 13,786 sales in total for July. That’s down 17 per cent YTD, but only down 1.7 per cent for the month.

The second most popular is the ‘Small below $40k’ segment. It reported 8144 sales in the month of July, down 6.3 per cent YTD but up 11.1 per cent for the month. And lastly the ‘Large below $70k’ segment saw 7317 sales, down 19.7 per cent YTD and down 12.2 per cent for the month.

As we saw, the RAV4 was the best-selling vehicle overall so obviously it was the best-selling SUV in July. In terms of premium SUVs, the Mercedes-Benz GLC was the top-seller, followed by the Audi Q5, and then the BMW X3. All of these compete in the same mid-size premium SUV class, interestingly. The top three best-selling SUVs in all segments during July 2020 were as follows:

  • SUV Light (new segment for 2020, no price range):
    Mazda CX-3 – 1355 (up from 1157 in June)
    Volkswagen T-Cross – 344 (up from 339)
    Hyundai Venue – 282 (down from 344)
  • SUV Small under $40,000:
    Mitsubishi ASX – 1053 (down from 1475)
    Mazda CX-30 – 990 (up from 820)
    Kia Seltos – 940 (up from 603)
  • SUV Small above $40,000:
    Audi Q3 – 226 (down from 479)
    Volvo XC40 – 215 (down from 490)
    Audi Q2 – 137 (down from 155)
  • SUV Medium under $60,000:
    Toyota RAV4 – 4309 (up from 2632)
    Mazda CX-5 – 1727 (down from 2530)
    Nissan X-Trail – 1116 (down from 1387)
  • SUV Medium above $60,000:
    Mercedes-Benz GLC – 479 (down from 834)
    Audi Q5 – 297 (down from 431)
    BMW X3 – 271 (down from 411)
  • SUV Large under $70,000:
    Toyota Kluger – 1057 (down from 1243)
    Toyota LandCruiser Prado – 779 (down from 2374)
    Isuzu MU-X – 622 (down from 1014)
  • SUV Large above $70,000:
    Mercedes-Benz GLE – 266 (down from 449)
    Lexus RX – 115 (down from 337)
    Volkswagen Touareg – 113 (down from 155)
  • SUV Upper Large under $100,000:
    Toyota LandCruiser – 479 (down from 1521)
    Nissan Patrol – 105 (down from 211)
  • SUV Upper Large above $100,000:
    BMW X7 – 65 (down from 143)
    Mercedes-Benz GLS – 64 (down from 153)
    Land Rover Discovery – 39 (down from 164)

Total new vehicle sales in Australia in July were down on June 2020 figures, as mentioned. During July, Australian consumers bought 72,505 vehicles according to VFACTS, compared with 110,234 in June. Overall sales for the month are down 12.8 per cent compared with July 2019, and down 19.2 per cent year-to-date.

Brett is the editor and founder of Performance Drive. 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.