VACC Senior Research Analyst, Steve Bletsos breaks down the latest new-vehicle registration numbers. Here’s what you need to know…
There were 83,312 new vehicles sold in September and 816,140 vehicles year-to-date. Additionally, industry is ahead by 171,249 new vehicle sales – 26.6 percent – compared to year-to-date September 2020. We are also 0.6 percent ahead in sales-to-date compared to 2019. These are reasonable figures, considering the ongoing shortages of vehicles and parts, and that half the country was still in lockdown. All segments of the market showed an increase in sales in September with heavy vehicles up 37.5 percent, light commercials up 27 percent and SUVs up 25.1 percent.
Ongoing asset write-off tax incentives and a current baby-boom are driving the sales of SUVs and light commercials. Many people are swapping cars for SUVs to accommodate a new or growing family. Net overseas migration has fallen by 95,300 due to border closures but we’ve had a natural increase in the population of 35,700 to September 2021, hence the trend to SUVs. We are on track to surpass one million sales by the end of the year. VACC forecasts around 1.1 million new vehicle sales by the end of December 2021, which surpasses that of 2020 (916,968 sales) and 2019 (1,062,867).
Notably, Victoria is lagging behind the rest of the country. Compared to the pre-COVID time of September 2019, sales are down 17 percent in September 2021. Victoria is the most locked-down city in the world and the economic effects are starting to bite. Young people with job insecurity are delaying the purchase of a new car, and others are delaying upgrades to a newer car.
Current sales trends
The fastest growing vehicle brands are:
- Peugeot, up 198.2 percent
- GWM, up 196.7 percent
- SsangYong, up 138.8 percent
- ISUZU Ute, up 102.5 percent
- MG, up 93.7 percent
- Jaguar, up 70.5 percent
- Jeep, up 65.3 percent
- Lexus, up 90.3 percent.
Notable sales falls in September 2021 were seen by Honda, down 44.8 percent; BMW down 27 percent and Ferrari, down 24 percent.
Dog car of the month
The prize goes to the Volkswagen Golf. There were 204 Golfs sold in September 2021, compared to 924 in September 2020. That’s a monthly drop of 720 vehicles.
Star car of the month
The prize goes to the Toyota Corolla. There were 3,487 Corollas sold in September 2021, compared to 1,462 in September 2020. That’s a monthly increase of 2,025 vehicles – more than double!
Honda’s market share declined the most in September 2021, now sitting at 1.6 percent down from 3.4 percent in September 2020. The fixed price agency model is a key factor in this decline. Other notable declines were BMW. Its market share now 2.3 percent, down from 2.6 percent in September 2020. MG witnessed the highest growth in market share, rising to 3.5 percent in September 2021, from 1.5 percent in September 2020. ISUZU Ute's market share rose to 3.5 percent in September 2021, from 2.1 percent in September 2020.
Electric vehicles (EVs) continue to sell well, albeit off a low base. Year-to-date, 3,568 EVs were sold, excluding Teslas. The real number of EV sales, inclusive of Tesla sales, is likely around to be around 10,000.
Sport and luxury vehicle sales continue a growth trend in September 2021. Particularly notable were sales of the BMW 4 series coupe/convertible with 105 sales in September 2021, compared to 23 sales in September 2020; Mercedes AMG coupe/convertible with 18 sales in September 2021, compared to seven in September 2020 and the Bentley coupe/convertible with 12 sales in September 2021, compared to seven in September 2020.
Empty nesters, divorcees, and affluent consumers with high disposable incomes are splurging on themselves and driving these sales. Other notable sellers in the sports car segment include the Ford Mustang with 215 sales in September 2021, compared to 145 in September 2020, and Nissan 370Z with 54 sales in September 2021, compared to five in September 2020.
- While we aren't selling more vehicles than we used to, we are selling more vehicles that are higher up in the food chain, or the next price bracket. For example, vehicles costing below $40,000 were 33.3 percent of the market in 2017, but now they’re around 31 percent. Medium SUVs costing between $50,000 and $60,000 were 16.4 percent of the market in 2017, now they’re over 17 percent. Large SUVs between $80,000 and $100,000 were 1.4 percent of the market, now they’re 2.4 percent
- We’re richer than ever. Wealth per capita is now $522,032. This is mainly due to soaring house price growth, which has a positive impact on car purchasing behaviour
- There is pent-up demand for goods due to people not being able to travel overseas for the past two years. Many people have an extra $10,000 to $20,000 to spend on a vehicle or other purposes
- Lending for the purchase of vehicles has dropped by $75 million or 6.4 percent in September 2020, compared to August 2020. Also, housing loans fell 4.3 percent in August. This combination may temper vehicle sales next month.
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