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The Recovery Playbook: Outbreaks risk derailing Australia's return to prosperity

April marked an important milestone for Australia, one year on from the main COVID outbreak of 2020. This allows for the comparison of a time of bleak outlook and uncertainty, with one where many economic indicators appear more in line with performance prior to the pandemic.

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VFACTS June 2021: A Strong Result, Or Starting To Slip?

June is an odd month when it comes to new car sales, with fleets bringing forward spending to take advantage of EOFY tax incentives, and consumers out hunting for bargains. Well publicised stock shortages make things more complicated this year, with some manufacturers likely to lose sales because they can’t deliver vehicles for 3, 6, or even 9 months.

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The 2021 AfMA Conference Recap

Steve, Bayee and I were very pleased to join a range of industry representatives at the 2021 Australasian Fleet Management Association conference in Melbourne in May. Bringing together fleet operators, OEMs, FMOs and a range of other suppliers to the sector, the conference provided a fantastic opportunity to hear from a range of industry experts, see some of the latest vehicles and technologies in action, and network (in person) with old and new acquaintances.

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VFACTS May 2021: Another Strong Result For New Vehicle Sales

VFACTS have just published the May 2021 new car sales figures, and they make for some pretty astounding reading, with more than 100,000 new vehicles sold over the past 31 days. This is particularly true when we consider the fact that in many cases, these are orders that won't be completed for 3, 6, or even 9 months. Unpacking the results, here are five key themes that highlight the extent of the recovery we've seen over the past 12 months.

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Telematics in 2021: Is the reality living up to the promise?

Following on from the disruption of 2020, many businesses are conducting structural reviews into their fleet, seeking initiatives that can increase efficiency, and reduce costs. From our perspective, telematics systems, and the insights they provide should play a key role in this process, grounding decisions in verifiable business intelligence.

But are telematics living up to this ideal? As can be seen in the table below, the proportion of Corporate Fleets using telematics has declined since 2018, with only the largest (250+ vehicle) fleets increasing usage. Alongside this, our small and medium-sized Corporate Fleets have seen significant increases when it comes to former telematics users.

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The Growth of Chinese Vehicle Sales

Australia ended 2020 with over 100,000 fewer new vehicle sales than the year before. While this is understandable given the impact of COVID-19, we feel that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Australian new car sales (as at Feb '21) have now risen for the fourth consecutive month, with the market recording a 5% YoY jump in February off the back of almost 85,000 new vehicles sold. Encouragingly, this growth is almost entirely driven by consumers (YoY sales up 16%), as they regain the confidence to start spending on big-ticket items.

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The Australian COVID-19 Recovery – An Outlook for 2021

The Australian economy is poised for recovery as we leave behind a traumatic 2020. The combination of an extended period without new community cases, and the start of the vaccine rollout have brought a note of optimism to the community, driving increased confidence among both consumers and businesses as we look to the year ahead.

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Unpacking The Jan 2021 New Vehicle Sales Recovery

January 2021 saw the new year start with a bang, as almost 80,000 vehicles were sold off the back of further easing in COVID-19 restrictions, and the Australian economy returning to a more ‘normal’ business setting. Year on year, this resulted in double digit growth (up 11.1% vs. January 2020). While that appears strong at face value, does it hold true once we dig a little deeper.

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A Return To Normality?

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.

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Planning For Recovery - The COVID-19 Recovery Playbook

The devastating impact of COVID-19 on the Australian economy is clearly evident (as called out in our COVID-19 SME Sentiment Tracker), particularly as a resurgence of the virus in Victoria sees the state reinstating strict lockdown measures. Looking to the future though, we are hopeful the latest outbreak will be controlled, allowing Australian businesses to shift their focus away from survival, and towards recovery.

Given the unprecedented nature of this pandemic, it is hard to fathom the current state of the economy. We have therefore compiled a list of metrics that can be used to evaluate and monitor the health of the economy. We are making this recovery playbook available as a public resource, and will be updating it on a regular basis (as new data becomes available). 

At a high level, some of the early signs of recovery we saw have now retreated, with consumer and business confidence heading back down. Some specific themes are explored below. 

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