The figures show buyers continue to favor utes and SUVs; anecdotal feedback from dealers claim it is because more motorists plan to holiday at home amid international travel restrictions.
Other customers are treating themselves to a fancier car than they would otherwise buy, rather than go on an overseas holiday, say dealers.
“After a very challenging year, we are seeing ‘green shoots’ in the Australian new-vehicle market,” said Tony Weber, the chief executive of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, in a media statement.
Mr. Weber said the results were “welcome news”. “Every state and territory except Victoria and Tasmania have seen significant growth and, given the circumstances, Victoria’s result is seen as encouraging,” he said.
“However, the green shoots that we are seeing in October give us great hope that we may begin to see further recovery during the coming months.”
Mr. Weber said Federal Government initiatives “such as a constructive budget that included the instant asset write off, along with more accessible finance for consumers, is also acting as a welcome stimulus for the industry”.
The type of cars we are buying continues to evolve. SUVs and four-wheel-drives once again represented more than half of new vehicle sales for the month (50.8 percent, after an increase of 6.7 percent) while utes and van accounted for 23.6 percent of total sales (and as a category were up by 11.6 percent).
Passenger car sales, however, shrunk to 21.9 percent of the total market, down 24.5 percent from October 2019.
Market leader Toyota posted a 14.8 percent increase in sales in October 2020 compared to the same month the prior year, reporting 19,505 vehicles as sold after revealing its dealers had written 22,500 orders last month.
Toyota maintained a comfortable lead over second-placed Mazda which also posted a sales gain (of 17.1 percent), however third-place Hyundai was hit hard, down by 20.2 percent compared to the same month last year.
Ford, which was the last number one in Australia in 1997, ranked fourth in October 2020 after posting a 17.4 percent sales increase on the back of good supply of – and orders for – its Ranger ute.
Kia rounded out the Top Five after posting a 4.8 percent increase compared to the same month last year.
Mitsubishi (down by 6.3 percent) retained sixth place for the second month in a row after ranking fifth in August and third on the monthly sales charts in July for only the seventh time in its history.
The luxury-car sector continued to reveal mixed results in October 2020.
Mercedes-Benz made it into the Top 10 for the second month in a row – finishing in 10th in October after ranking ninth in September – despite posting a monthly decline of 11.5 percent.
BMW, which had earlier in the year made a strong showing in the Top 10 after registering a large number of demonstrator models and company cars to boost its numbers, again fell outside the Top 10.