March was not a good month for car sales in Australia, though a few car makers bucked the negative trend.

THE AUSTRALIAN car market has posted its 24th month of slowing sales, as March 2020 recorded a horror show for most brands, the industry as a whole moving 81,690 units – down 17.9 per cent year on year.

However, at the top of the tree, Toyota found immunity from widespread decline, growing sales 1.6 per cent with 17,583 sales. The Japanese brand’s success was buoyed by the HiLux, the country’s top-seller last month (3556 sales), Toyota RAV 4 (2991 sales) and Toyota Corolla (2812 sales). In fact, the only maker to have a model in the top-four seller’s list that wasn’t Toyota was Ford with its Ranger ute.

Behind Toyota in second spot is Mazda, which posted an almost 30 per cent decline in sales, recording 6819 sales for the month. Mazda is followed by Mitsubishi, down a whopping 40.8 per cent with 6002 sales.

Those negative numbers helped give Kia the upperhand, now sitting fourth on the sales chart and ahead of sibling-brand Hyundai for the first time. Overall, Kia was up 6.6 per cent with 5654 sales, selling 348 more cars than Hyundai (5306), itself down 31.4 per cent.

The top ten selling car brand in Australia for March 2020:

  1. Toyota – 17,583 sales (up 1.6 per cent)
  2. Mazda – 6819 (down 29.1 per cent)
  3. Mitsubishi – 6002 (down 40.8 per cent)
  4. Kia – 5654 (up 6.6 per cent)
  5. Hyundai – 5306 (down 31.4 per cent)
  6. Holden – 4992 (up 30.2 per cent)
  7. Ford – 4857 (down 21.2 per cent)
  8. Nissan – 3501 (down 31.6 per cent)
  9. Honda – 3144 (down 27.5 per cent)
  10. Subaru – 3024 (down 0.2 per cent)

The top five selling cars in Australia for March 2020:

Toyota HiLux – 3556 sales

Ford Ranger – 3108 sales

Toyota RAV4 – 2991 sales

Toyota Corolla – 2812 sales

Holden Colorado – 2391 sales

Overall, sales of SUVs were down 14.2 per cent to 39,171, passenger cars 24.9 per cent to 21,777, and light commercial vehicles 15.5 per cent to 18,162, in a show of negativity across the market.

The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) said in its media statement today that the poor performance was “mainly attributed to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the general economy.”

FCAI CEO, Tony Weber, added that dealers are still open for business, and that sterilisation protocols mean consumers can continue to shop for a new car.

“Many dealerships have opted to remain open to maintain support for customers, particularly from a service perspective, during this difficult period,” he says.

“Of particular importance are first responder and essential services vehicles.  We must keep these vehicles on the road to ensure our communities continue to function and remain safe.

“In addition, we need to ensure those who physically attend their workplace can travel safely. The motor vehicle is a safe form of transport during the pandemic, allowing occupants to preserve their personal distance from other commuters.

“Within dealerships, customer safety is of the highest priority, and automotive brands have initiated a variety of enhanced hygiene protocols and contactless consultations to maintain personal distance.”

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About Author

Alex Rae

Alex Rae brings almost two decades’ experience, previously working at publications including Wheels, WhichCar, Drive/Fairfax,, AMC, Just Cars, and more.


  1. This improvement in the figures enjoyed by KIA can come as no surprise to anyone for they have shifted their game in the last year or so. The design of many of their models now reflects and acknowledges the fact that buyers do relate to European influences but in addition they have determined that buyers look for better specification and more importantly better quality and they have obvious striven to improve both. For decades I have tended to preference European makers but it is not unrealistric to expect that my next car might be a Kia!

  2. As a New Car Broker and Car Reviewer, I’ve been trumpeting the Kia cause for the last couple of years.
    Congratulations to the Australian Kia family for their efforts.
    No doubt Kia has more and better products coming. And a final word – Hyundai was given the first crack at the EV and Hybrid segment and still has the van market to itself. Watch out Hyundai when there’s a level playing field.

  3. I have a 2013 Kia Sportage diesel which I absolutely love, Kia were saved by Hyundai and are now out selling them, I’m not supprised at all, I have not had one problem and after having done 80,000 kms, I’m a happy man.

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