New car sales halve in largest ever monthly decline

author-avatar By on May 05, 2020
New car sales halve in largest ever monthly decline

Photo by Nabeel Syed on Unsplash

New car sales fell by 48.5% in April compared to the same period last year, as the economic fallout from COVID-19 deepens.

The figures released by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) showed a total of 38,926 new car sales in April 2020, compared to 75,550 in April of last year. 

This is the largest single decrease of any month since VFACTs figures were first recorded in 1991, and the 25th consecutive month of declining new car sales year-on-year. 

Year to date figures for April totalled 272,287 sales, down from 344,088 in 2019, equating to a 20.9% overall decline. 


FCAI Chief Executive Tony Weber said the coronavirus had been a massive factor in the dismal figures. 

“Clearly, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a major influence on the April sales result, and reflects a downturn in the broader economy right across the country,” Mr Weber said.

“Figures recently released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that 31% of Australian citizens have experienced a decrease in income due to the pandemic. In addition 72% of Australian businesses reported that reduced cash flow is expected to have an adverse impact on business over the next two months.

“These conditions inevitably impact consumer confidence and purchase decisions.”

In the market for a new car? The table below features car loans with some of the lowest fixed interest rates on the market.

Toyota continued to be Australia's most popular new car brand with 10,325 vehicles sold, followed by Mazda and Kia. 

Toyota also boasted the three most popular individual models, with the Toyota Hi-Lux coming in first, followed by the RAV4 and the Landcruiser. 

New South Wales led the states in sales volume with 11,938 vehicles sold, followed by Victoria and Queensland. 

Mr Weber said when social distancing measures are relaxed and the economic hibernation is lifted, the automotive industry needs help to recover. 

"We are calling on Federal and State Governments to consider the automotive industry, which employs over 65,000 people in Australia, when compiling their recovery plans,” he said.

“The JobKeeper and JobSeeker payment programs put in place by the Federal Government are a welcome initiative.

“However, we believe the scope needs to ensure high turnover and low margin businesses, such as new car dealerships, are covered.

“Initially, we would ask that the instant asset write off package is extended to further stimulate business purchasing.”

More to come..


The entire market was not considered in selecting the above products. Rather, a cut-down portion of the market has been considered which includes retail products from at least the big four banks, the top 10 customer-owned institutions and Australia’s larger non-banks:

  • The big four banks are: ANZ, CBA, NAB and Westpac
  • The top 10 customer-owned Institutions are the ten largest mutual banks, credit unions and building societies in Australia, ranked by assets under management in November 2020. They are (in descending order): Great Southern Bank, Newcastle Permanent, Heritage Bank, Peoples’ Choice Credit Union, Teachers Mutual Bank, Greater Bank, IMB Bank, Beyond Bank, Bank Australia and P&N Bank.
  • The larger non-bank lenders are those who (in 2020) has more than $9 billion in Australian funded loans and advances. These groups are: Resimac, Pepper, Liberty and Firstmac.
  • If you click on a product link and you are referred to a Product or Service Provider’s web page, it is highly likely that a commercial relationship exists between that Product or Service Provider and

Some providers' products may not be available in all states. To be considered, the product and rate must be clearly published on the product provider's web site.

In the interests of full disclosure,, Performance Drive and are part of the Firstmac Group. To read about how manages potential conflicts of interest, along with how we get paid, please click through onto the web site links.

*Comparison rate is based on a loan of $150,000 over a term of 25 years. Please note the comparison rate only applies to the examples given. Different loan amounts and terms will result in different comparison rates. Costs such as redraw fees and costs savings, such as fee waivers, are not included in the comparison rate but may influence the cost of the loan.

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Alex joined as a finance journalist in 2019. He enjoys covering in-depth economical releases and breaking down how they might affect the everyday punter. He is passionate about providing Australians with the information and tools needed to make them financially stable for their futures.


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