Hybrids are among the best performing of the various fuel categories in July new vehicle sales. While new petrol and diesel vehicle sales continue declining as a rapid rate, hybrids and their cousin the plug-in hybrid (PHEV) are generally doing well, with electrics also in the mix. The trend towards lower emission fuels is amply demonstrated in the new vehicle sales figures for July released by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI). “The Australian automotive industry, like many sectors in the Australian market, continues to face challenging and difficult conditions, exacerbated by the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic,” FCAI chief executive Tony Weber says. “The extended stage 4 restrictions which have now been invoked in Australia’s second largest market, Victoria, will no doubt further challenge the industry during the coming months,” he adds. He says overall national sales of more than 72,505 vehicles in July represent a 12.8% decrease on July 2019 and on year to date (YTD) basis there were 514,920 vehicles sold to July 2020, a 19.2% decrease on the same period in 2019.
New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory demonstrated a slight recovery, but Victoria and Tasmania had a 27.8% and 22.6% downturn respectively. Hybrids led the charge in the popular SUV field, recording 4358 new vehicle sales for July, up 269.6% on the 1179 sold in July 2019, and up 279.1% in YTD sales (15, 757 this year compared with 4156 for the same period last year). That’s getting up with diesel SUV sales for July (5987) while petrol is still way ahead (26,041) – but with diesel and petrol sales falling in that and all other sectors. PHEV SUV sales were up 136.2% for the month (111 in July 2020 compared with 47 in July 2019) and falling just 6% in YTD sales (689 compared with 733). Electrics were down 33% in the SUV category for July (63 from 94) but up 12.2% YTD (406 from 362). Hybrids also did well in the passenger sector (the distinction between private and non-private has been removed from all categories). Here, hybrids recorded 2307 sales in July – up 20.5% on July 2019’s 1914, while YTD figures were up 24.8% (14,143 from 11,333). PHEVs also rose in the passenger sector, going from 16 in July 2019 to 21 this July – up 31.3%, and from 130 to 198 YTD – up 52.3%. Electric sales fell 44% in the passenger category, going from 134 in July 2019 to 75 last month, but still increasing in YTD sales by 44.5% (339 to 490). The only other sector in which electrics are recorded in the light commercial category where July 2020 saw zero sales compared with just three in July 2019. However, YTD sales in the LCV market were up 30% (from 10 to 13). It all shows a definite trend towards hybrids and EVs, with that likely to continue in coming months.