VACC Senior Research Analyst, Steve Bletsos breaks down the latest new-vehicle registration numbers. Here’s what you need to know…
Considering the extensive lockdowns in New South Wales and Victoria, along with stock supply shortages, August was a reasonable month nationally for new-car sales with 81,199 vehicles sold in August, and 732,828 vehicles sold year to date (YTD).
YTD sales are 27.2 percent above last year, but only 1.3 percent above 2019 levels.
All vehicle segments went up in August, with light commercials continuing to be the fastest growing segment, up 71.2 percent for the month and up 37.1 percent for the year.
Victoria had a strong month in August where sales grew by 153.6 percent, but YTD Victorian sales are still down by 7.6 percent over 2019 levels, so Victoria remains a laggard compared to rest of the country.
Sales by brand
Bentley continues to perform well, with 26 Bentley cars sold in August, compared to eight last August. Of these, 15 were coupe/convertibles, highlighting a growing trend of convertible sales among luxury vehicle brands. Mercedes-Benz sold 10 AMG GT convertibles this August compared to only four last August; Ferrari sold 15 convertibles this August compared to 11 last August; Rolls-Royce sold four convertibles this August compared to only one last August.
This trend in luxury two-seat convertible sales could be attributed to empty-nesters or retirees accessing their superannuation, downsizing their homes, receiving their inheritance, or spending their children’s inheritance.
Lotus also sold well in August with 12 sales this August, compared to two in August last year.
Honda had another terrible month, selling half the vehicles it sold this August compared to August 2021. Honda’s market share has dropped from 3.5 percent last year, to 1.7 percent this year. This represents the biggest decline in market share of all brands. Honda sold only 80 Civics in August this year compared to 244 in August last year. Only one buyer bought a Honda Accord this August compared to 13 last August.
Mercedes-Benz has dropped its market share also, from 3.3 percent last year to 2.8 percent this year. This is bad news, as Mercedes-Benz will switch to an agency model from January next year. If sales shift, as they did when Honda moved to an agency model, Mercedes-Benz may see a further decline in market share.
MG continues its strong sales growth. MG’s market share has more than doubled compared to last year, from 1.4 percent market share as of August 2021 to 3.5 percent market share this August. This represents the highest growth of all brands.
The Volkswagen Passat is making a comeback, with 107 sold this August, compared to only 29 last August.
Sales of the Ford Mustang continue to drop, with only 45 sales this August, compared to 147 in August 2021. Consumers are buying the Nissan 370Z and BMW Series 2 coupe/convertible instead.
Sales of electric vehicles (EVs) continue to grow, albeit off a low base. Year to date August last year, dealers sold only 1,064 electric vehicles (excluding Tesla, which refuses to divulge sales figures) but year to date August this year 3,102 electric vehicles (not including Tesla cars) sold. Plug-in hybrids continue to sell well.
Australia has experienced a strong set of economic conditions to date, which has helped lift the new vehicle market since its precarious state last year.
We have seen annual house price growth to date of 17.5 percent, the strongest growth in almost 20 years.
The share market index has risen 29 percent over the year.
We’ve had unprecedented policy stimulus and record low interest rates.
GDP grew 0.7 percent in the June Quarter (after rising by 1.9 percent in the March Quarter).
The household savings ratio has fallen from 11.6 percent to 9.7 percent in the June Quarter.
Personal finance for road vehicles rose 2.9 percent in July to $1.177 billion. Vehicle loans had fallen to only $0.63 billion last year, so this is a good recovery, but we used to borrow a lot more. Australians borrowed $1.355 billion for car loans back in 2016.
Forecasters signal a significant contraction in the economy (around four percent) for the September Quarter because of lockdowns and uncertainty before a rebound in the December Quarter with an expected easing of lockdowns. This may mean a volatile few months ahead for the new car market.
Data source: Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI).
Statistics as discussed on THE GRILLE, a new automotive industry podcast hosted by Greg Rust, Shane Jacobson and VACC CEO, Geoff Gwilym. Visit: thegrillepodcast.com.au