Australian industry calls for reduced COVID-19 restrictions after dismal August | Automotive Industry News

Australia’s Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) has called for a loosening of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions after dismal new vehicle sales in August 2020.

Latest VFACTS data revealed a continuing downturn in the automotive industry after sales plunged 28.8% year on year to 60,986 units last month.  

Year to date volume fell 20.4% to 575,906.

The data was released a day after the Australian Bureau of Statistics announced a 7% drop in Gross Domestic Product for the June quarter – the largest ever recorded for a single quarter.

The state of Victoria, currently under Stage 4 pandemic restrictions, saw a 65.9% downturn in August. 

FCAI CEO Tony Weber said, that while the overall industry was showing some response to stimulus packages, Victoria was less than promising.

“The industry has moved swiftly to implement robust COVIDSafe protocols to ensure the health and wellbeing of employees and customers is preserved. 

“However, it is particularly difficult for our members and their Victorian dealer networks under the current stage 4 restrictions, and this is reflected in the reduced sales figures.

“While we have the utmost respect for essential health priorities, the automotive industry supports the re-opening of our economy under appropriate COVIDSafe protocols,” Weber added.

“We’ve seen 29 consecutive months of diminishing sales in this industry and there’s no doubt our members are feeling the pinch.  The move to commence the reopening of industry and markets, especially in Victoria, needs to start as soon as possible.” 

Toyota was the top selling brand for August, with 12,449 sales, followed by Mazda (6,921), Hyundai (4,525), Kia (4,521) and Mitsubishi (4,308).

Passenger vehicles took a 24.2% market share, SUVs accounted for 53.1% while light commercials enjoyed a 18.4% slice last month.

Separately, Toyota Australia claimed its RAV4 hybrid topped the sales chart in August.

RAV4, which is also sold with petrol versions, has led the market for the past two months – the first SUV to become the country’s best selling vehicle.

Sales of 4,405 hybrid RAV4 variants marked the first time that the hybrid version of any model had outsold every other vehicle available in Australia.

Hybrids accounted for a record 91.3% of Australian RAV4 sales in August with dealers also retailing 420 petrol variants.