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The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) has declared financial lending as the key trigger to help open up Australia’s fledgling automotive industry, as new vehicle sales figures reveal an expected year-on-year decline due to COVID-19.

A total of 68,985 sales was recorded for the month, down 21.8 per cent on September 2019 when 88,181 sales were reported.  On a year to date basis, sales for the industry totalled 644,891, down 20.5 per cent from the same period in 2019 when 811,464 new vehicles sales were recorded.

Tony Weber, chief executive of the FCAI, said that while the market remains slow, the industry was hoping to see an increasingly positive trend as barriers to purchase are eased and consumer confidence returns.

“First of all, we are seeing COVID-19 health restrictions across Australia, and particularly in metropolitan Melbourne, continue to ease.

“Another sign that the market may improve is the announcement by the Federal Government last week of an easing of lending conditions for private buyers and small business in Australia.

“Freeing up restrictions around financial lending will act as a stimulus for Australian industry,” Mr Weber said.

Restrictive lending practices have been one of the major factors contributing to the declining new vehicle market which has seen 30 consecutive months of decreasing sales in Australia.  This market regression has also been attributed to a number of other factors including natural disasters, unfavourable exchange rates and economic uncertainty.

The September VFACTS results reveal that, on a state by state basis, Victoria continued to be hardest hit due to month-long Stage 4 COVID-19 restrictions, recording 10,447 sales, a decrease from September 2019 of 57.7 per cent.  States which showed improvement compared to September 2019 included:

  • ACT, up 3.4 per cent
  • Northern Territory, up 10.6 per cent
  • Western Australia, up 1.5 per cent

During the month 17,720 Passenger Vehicle were sold, representing 25.7 per cent of the total market.  SUVs claimed 47.3 per cent of the market with a total of 32,647 sales, and Light Commercial vehicles claimed 22.9 per cent of the market with 15,772 sales.

Toyota was the top selling brand for the month, with 12,936 sales, followed by Mazda with 7,000 sales, Hyundai with 5,273 sales, Kia with 5,092 sales, and Ford with 4,816 sales.

The top five selling models for the month were the Ford Ranger with 3,726 sales, the Toyota Hi Lux with 3,610 sales, the Toyota RAV4 with 2,433 sales, the Hyundai i30 with 1,786 sales and the Mazda CX-5 with 1,765 sales.