Best seller . . . the Toyota Hilux.

Groundhog day for cash-strapped car industry

Riley Riley

Like Bill Murray in the movie Groundhog Day, the car industry keeps reliving the same day over and over again — it’s a nightmare.

It’s the day once a month when the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) releases the latest sales figures for the month and once again the news is grim.

In fact, it’s so bad that October is now the 19th straight month that sales have continued to fall, down 9.1 per cent on the same period last year.

Year to date, the figures aren’t much better, with the number of motor vehicles purchased down eight per cent overall — or 78,000 less units.

And, once again FCAI chief executive Tony Weber is pointing the finger at the “over-regulation” of the financial sector.

Presumably, it’s making it harder for people to get the money to buy a new car.

FCAI Chief Executive Tony Weber

“The FCAI and our members have been concerned about the risk-averse approach to lending in Australia for some time and see improved access to finance as a key to driving economic growth in 2020,” Mr Weber said.

“Of particular interest is the fact that sales are down across all buyer types, with private sales down 5.2 per cent compared to October 2018, business sales are down 8.2 per cent and government sales are down 7.3 per cent.”

Total sales for the month of October numbered 82,456 vehicles, a decrease of 8262 vehicles — or 9.1 per cent, on October 2018.

During the month, the Sports Utility Market (38,648 units) fell by 3 per cent compared to October 2018, while the Passenger Vehicle Market (23,553 units) was down 15.3 per cent, and the Light Commercial Market (17,164) decreased by 11 per cent.

Toyota Hilux (3516 units) was once again the top selling vehicle in October, followed by the Ford Ranger (3160), the Hyundai i30 (2216) the Toyota RAV4 (2132) and the Toyota Corolla (2117).

Toyota too remained the top selling brand for the month with 16,988 sales for 20.6 per cent market share, followed by Hyundai (7455 for 9 per cent market share), Mazda (6370 sales for 7.7 per cent market share), Kia (5062 sales for 6.1 per cent market share) and Ford (4891 for 5.9 per cent market share).

Interestingly, the same sad and sorry story is being played out in the UK.

Here new car registrations fell 6.7 per cent in October, as consumer confidence remained weak.

Private sales showed a significant drop, down 13.2 per cent while fleet demand remains stable.

Year-to-date the market is down 2.9 per cent overall, with 58,897 fewer cars registered than in October 2018.

The fall reflects continued uncertainty over diesel and clean air zones, stunted economic growth and uncertainty over Brexit.

Bucking the overall trend, however, electrified cars continued to grow in popularity.

Hybrid electric cars increased by a considerable 28.9 per cent, with 7950 leaving showrooms, as battery electric vehicle registrations almost tripled, up 151.8 per cent to 3,162 units.

Plug-in hybrids, however, fell just short of their positive performance in the same month last year, down 1.7 per cent.

Combined, alternatively fuelled vehicle registrations reached 9.9 per cent market share in October – the highest on record, up from 6.9 per cent last year.

Here we sell a handful of electric vehicles.

Utes like the Ford Ranger are currently the biggest selling cars in Australia.

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