It's a car crash for new vehicle sales figures (again)

author-avatar By on February 05,2020
It's a car crash for new vehicle sales figures (again)

Photo by John Torcasio on Unsplash

Rather than revving up, new car sales have stalled again.

Following a bad year of car sales in 2019, new vehicle sales figures for January 2020 were off to a modest start. Just over 71,000 new cars were sold - down 10,263 from January 2019 when 81,994 cars were sold.

Tony Weber, chief executive for the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) said he wasn't surprised the figures were low.

"Given the broad range of environmental, financial, international and political issues facing Australia during January, it is no surprise to see the new vehicle market has reported a conservative start to the year," Mr Weber said. 

Sports utility vehicles made up the lion's share of new cars sold (35,393) followed by passenger vehicles (20,494) and light commercial vehicles (14,035).

Looking for a new car? Below are some of the lowest fixed rate car loans on the market.

Company Advertised rate Comparison rate* Monthly repayments  
Car Loan (Dealer Only) 4.89% 5.44% $565 More details
Low Rate Special Car Loan Offer 5.49% 5.73% $573 More details
Discounted Car Loan 5.64% 5.99% $575 More details
Car Loan 8.49% 9.60% $615 More details
Ad rate Comp rate* Repayments
Car Loan (Dealer Only)
4.89% 5.44% $565
More details
Low Rate Special Car Loan Offer
5.49% 5.73% $573
More details
Discounted Car Loan
5.64% 5.99% $575
More details
Car Loan
8.49% 9.60% $615
More details

Data accurate as at 20 February 2020. Rates based on a loan of $30,000 for a five-year loan term. Products sorted by advertised rate, then by company name (A-Z). View disclaimer.

New car winners and losers 

Toyota emerged as the market leader in January with over 14,000 sales and 20.6% market share.

The Toyota Hilux once again claimed the title of Australia's best-selling car with 2,968 sales, closely followed by the Ford Ranger (2,624). Australia's third favourite vehicle during January was the Toyota Corolla with 2,370 sales.

Rank Vehicle Jan 2020 Jan 2019
1 Toyota 14,809 15,961
2 Mazda 6,695 9,490
3 Hyundai 5,443 6,205
4 Mitsubishi 5,108 6,669
5 Kia 4,705 4,651
6 Ford 4,169 4,421
7 Nissan 3,444 3,803
8 Honda 3,436 4,042
9 Volkswagen 3,246 3,617
10 Holden 2,641 4,167

What's behind the drop in new car sales?

New car sales figures are often considered to be a barometer of economic health so if they're falling, it can generally be considered a sign of a weakened economy. Buying intentions for motor vehicles historically drops off when a household's spending strength is weaker, which happens when the economy isn't as strong.

Kristy Wells, Operations Manager at Popcar said rising living costs and increased demand for ride share services could be behind lagging car sales figures. 

"We certainly see that in the areas where we operate there is constant demand for car sharing services. We are seeing that the cost of living is rising, and people are more and more conscious of the financial pressures in daily life. Australians are looking for how they can be savvy and save money," Ms Wells told

"With rising growth of car sharing services, like Popcar, it means consumers now have an alternative to traditional car ownership and do not need to purchase a car for tens of thousands of dollars.

"This new trend is offering the convenience of owning a car without costs. By using a car sharing service there are no registration costs, servicing costs or car payments."

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Emma joined as a Finance Journalist in 2019. She is a journalist with more than five years experience across print, broadcast and digital media, with previous stints at Style Magazines, 4ZZZ radio, and as editor of The Real Estate Conversation. She's most passionate about improving the financial literacy of young women and millennials by writing about complex financial topics in a way that's easy for the average Joe (or Jill) to understand. When she's not writing about finance she's watching Greys Anatomy (again).


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