November sees a number of changes to life in Australia, as Melbourne (and Victoria more broadly) returns to a greater semblance of normality. Anecdotal feedback suggests that we'll see that reflected in financial results over the next month, as Victorians take advantage of the opportunity to see friends, and relatives, visit cafes and restaurants, and generally enjoy an increased level of freedom.
Looking back at October though, we can see that a level of recovery was already evident when it comes to vehicle sales. Despite weak Victorian sales figures as they remained in lockdown, 81,220 new vehicles were sold, down just 1.5% from October 2019. As can be seen in the chart below, this was underpinned by QLD, WA, SA, ACT, and NT all recording double digit growth compared to 2019. Importantly, when we start digging into the numbers, we can also see that it's not just business and government spending propping up the market. Consumers purchased almost half of the total vehicles sold. Given the November results should see a stronger result for Victoria, it suggests further improvement through to the end of the year.
As could be expected in this sort of situation though, there are always going to be winners and losers. Looking at the top manufacturers, we can clearly see that Toyota is regaining lost ground, ending the month with just under 20,000 sales. Similarly, Mazda, Ford, and Kia all perform well year on year, both having strengthened their vehicle range in the last 12 months. Beyond this, all other brands in the top 10 declined compared to last year, with Hyundai in particular likely to be dissatisfied with selling 1,504 less cars than October 2019.
Finally, continuing one of the non-pandemic related trends we've seen this year, low or zero emission vehicles made up almost 8% of vehicles sold in October, doubling their performance from a year ago. At this point in time, that's very much driven by hybrids, driven by brands like Toyota, but as this segment continues to evolve (and we move towards price parity), we would expect to see the number of pure electric vehicles sold continue to grow.
A key point to note here is that for the moment, hybrids and EVs appear to be largely replacing petrol vehicles, with the number of diesel vehicles sold increasing YoY. There will however be availability issues here though, and as we see viable light commercial alternatives become available in the Australian market, they will also begin to take share from this cohort.
We'll be watching these numbers (and others) closely over the next few months, to see whether our predictions come true. Either way, we're very pleased to see strong results around the country, and hope that this continues into 2021.
If you've got any questions, or would like more information about new vehicle sales in Australia, please get in touch with our team of auto experts.