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New vehicle sales down in challenging 2019 market

The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) today released new vehicle sales results for calendar year 2019. The sales data was calculated through the automotive industry’s statistical service, VFACTS, which will be enhanced through system improvements from 1st January 2020.

 For the full calendar year 2019, a total of 1,062,867 new vehicles were recorded as sold, a 7.8 per cent decrease on full year 2018.  The 2019 figure of 1,062,867 is the lowest annual sales result reported in VFACTS since 2011.

On a monthly basis, 84,239 new vehicle sales were recorded for December 2019, a decrease of 3.8 per cent from December 2018.

 Tony Weber, chief executive of the FCAI, commented at the release of the sales results.

“First and foremost, and on behalf of the entire automotive industry, the Chamber would like to offer our condolences to those affected by the devastating bushfires that have ravaged Australia over the past weeks.  Our thoughts and prayers are with them.

“Regarding the actual new vehicle sales results: 2019 reflects a tough year for the Australian economy, with challenges including tightening of lending, movements in exchange rates, slow wages growth and, of course, the extreme environmental factors our country is experiencing,” Mr Weber said.

Mr Weber noted the continuing adjustment for motoring consumers, with the 2019 year seeing a further shift to SUV sales which now hold 45.5 per cent of the total market, a 2.5 percentage point increase from 2018. 

Continuing the full year comparison, light commercial vehicle share grew by 0.6 percentage points to claim 21.2 per cent of the market, while passenger motor vehicles decreased by 3.1 percentage points to 29.7 per cent. 

While holding the largest share of market, sales of SUVs declined for full year 2019 by 2.4 per cent compared to 2018, sales of passenger vehicles declined by 16.5 per cent and sales of light commercial vehicles declined by 5.2 per cent.

The Toyota HiLux again claimed the title of number one selling vehicle in 2019 across all categories, with 47,649 sales. The HiLux was followed by the Ford Ranger, again number two in the market with 40,960 sales, followed by the Toyota Corolla (30,468), the Hyundai i30 (28,378) and the Mitsubishi Triton (25,819).

Across the brands, Toyota led the market in 2019 with 19.4 per cent market share, followed by Mazda (9.2 per cent), Hyundai (8.1 per cent), Mitsubishi (7.8 per cent) and Ford (6.0 per cent).

During the announcement of the 2019 sales results, the FCAI noted further improvements to the VFACTS data recording system. 

“Like any data platform, continuous improvement is a key requirement,” Mr Weber said.

“For this reason, we have instituted a further confirmation on data presented to the VFACTS system from our members.  This data is, as necessary, verified against the national registration data base and, when confirmed, vehicles are accepted into the monthly VFACTS reporting system.”