Car News

Holden sales plummet, 23 months of gloom for new car market

The FCAI has released its Vfacts report for February and none of it’s good news unless you were one of the brands which bucked the downward sales trend.

There were close to 300 fewer cars sold every day last month compared to February 2019, making February 2020 the 23rd month in a row of declining sales in the Australian car market. And after the sudden axing of Holden last month, sales for the lion brand plummeted to all-time lows.

You can blame Australia’s increasing reluctance to cough up for a new car on things like bush fires, floods, drought, and financial uncertainty according to the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries. In fact, coronavirus is listed as a hurdle for new car sales too.

“The Australian new vehicle market has now seen a downturn each month for the past 23 months,” says FCAI’s CEO Tony Weber.

“In economic terms, a recession is declared after two quarters of negative growth – and this industry has now seen seven consecutive quarters of negative growth.

“There is no doubt that this is an extraordinarily difficult time for the automotive industry – a situation sadly underlined by the recent announcement of Holden’s withdrawal from the Australian market.”

Indeed, Holden has been hugely hit for sales last month, sliding to sixteenth (from tenth) on the chart, moving just 1367 vehicles in February compared to 2641 vehicles in January 2020 according to Vfacts data. That’s fewer vehicles than Isuzu which only sells a ute and wagon.

Specifically, sales of Colorado ute, usually a strong performer for Holden, were down almost 40 per cent, moving just 598 units in total. Not that it matters now, given the bigger picture is GM has left right-hand drive markets, closed up Holden and axed 600 of the 800 staff here.

There are makers selling plenty of vehicles though. High achiever last month was Toyota, as usual, notching up 17,679 sales (22.1 per cent market share), 3421 of those Hiluxes and 3375 of them Rav4s. Next was Mazda, which in the face of heavily declining private car sales managed to shift 7320 units, claiming nine per cent market share. Third was Hyundai (5945), fourth Mitsubishi (5513), and fifth Kia (5120). Some makers such as Kia and Subaru, and to a lesser extent Toyota, recorded better sales last month year-on-year.

Of the almost 80,000 vehicles sold last month, 39,304 were SUVs, which is a whopping 49.2 per cent of the market, 15,523 light commercial vehicles (19.4 per cent of the market) and 22,648 passenger vehicles (28.3 per cent of the market).

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