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Fleet Auto News has contacted the top providers of novated leasing to find out which cars were the most popular with novated lease buyers in 2020. This annual survey highlights the changes in consumer preferences and market trends.

This list of popular novated lease vehicles reflects a true picture of consumer choice and new vehicle trends because they are all private purchases. They are using a novated lease to buy the car of their dreams with the accessories to match their lifestyle.

Frank Agostino, General Manager at WA based novated lease provider FleetNetwork, shared that seven vehicles in their top 10 were 4X4 vehicles designed to take novated lease buyers off- road to explore and enjoy local holidays in 2021. Most of them were diesel dual-cab utes fitted with adventure accessories included in the novated lease.

One of the biggest changes to the list in 2020 compared to the Top 10 in 2019 is a lack of small cars. Last year the Mazda3 and VW Golf made the list. It’s surprising how fast the preferences of novated buyers have changed because in the 2017 list, the Mazda3 was number one.

Australia’s top selling new car, the Toyota Hilux, has always been in the novated top 10 and has climbed from 9th in 2019 to 4th after a stellar sales year in 2020.

While dual-cab utes and 4X4 vehicles dominate the list in 2020, the Toyota RAV4 debuted at number three after sales almost doubled in 2020 compared to previous years due to the success of the newly introduced hybrid powertrain. The Nissan X-Trail and Ford Everest are also new entrants in 2020.

Craig Adamson, General Manager Vehicle Operations at Smartgroup, suggests that vehicle supply might change how the top 10 list looks in 2021.

“As you would expect the top 10 continues to show a range of car sizes and prices but the trend towards SUV styles certainly remains. The leading cars are the Mazda CX-5 and 3 which remain strong and we don’t expect that to change in 2021,” says Adamson.

“What is changing in 2021, as we saw at the end of 2020, is that the global supply of vehicles is being impact by the COVID pandemic and not all novated providers will have the scale and size like Smartleasing and Autopia to be able to provide good pricing and good supply on all brand and models. That could see an impact on the top 10 for 2021.”

Andrew Kerr, Director – Sales and Marketing at Inside Edge, advised that Toyota and Mazda were the top novated lease manufacturers with these brands making up 29% of their novated lease in 2020. He has also seen the interest in hybrid vehicles increasing.

“While there has been a lot of noise with regard to Tesla, and yes we have seen an increase in Tesla sales and enquiry, it has been the hybrid cars that have been of particular interest to our buyers and in particular the RAV4,” said Kerr.

“We believe 2021 will be another year hard to predict due to the potential for lockdowns and factory closures should COVID 19 vaccinations and containment not prevail, however with strong employment and low interest rates car sales will continue as per the current trend. With many of the mainstream manufacturers launching more plug in and battery electric vehicles the trend away from petrol and diesel will continue.”

The Mitsubishi Triton climbed several spots into 5th place after its debut last year in 7th.

Bobby Karanfilov from Simplygreen Salary Packaging is excited about the rise of the hybrid and EV and is also concerned about stock availability in 2021.

“I’m expecting a number of hybrids to crack our top 10 this year, which I’m really excited about. The only issue at the moment is stock availability; but the RAV4 hybrid is selling like hot cakes at the moment; we’re all experiencing growing interest in EVs like Tesla Model 3 and MG ZS EV, still probably a few years off being a top 10 seller, but really encouraging signs.” says Karanfilov.

Novated Leasing is how you can own the car of their dreams as well as save money using pre- tax salary. In the annual report of ASX listed novated leasing provider Eclipx, they mentioned that they had only reached 1.6% of eligible employees.

The Fleet Auto News Top 10 Novated Lease vehicles in 2020 were:

  1. Ford Ranger
  2. Mazda CX-5
  3. Toyota RAV-4
  4. Toyota Hilux
  5. Mitsubishi Triton
  6. Toyota Landcruiser Prado
  7. Ford Everest
  8. Toyota Landcruiser 200
  9. Subaru Forster
  10. Nissan X-Trail

Marc Sibbald is the Senior Content Writer of Fleet Auto News.