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2020 new-car sales biggest losers: Honda, Mitsubishi, Jaguar and other brands that struggled last year

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Honda Australia sales fell 33.8 per cent to 29,040 units in 2020, pushing the once-top 10 brand to 11th spot.
Honda Australia sales fell 33.8 per cent to 29,040 units in 2020, pushing the once-top 10 brand to 11th spot.

Last year was undoubtedly tough for all automotive brands as each scrambled to react to the ever-changing landscape brought about due to a global pandemic and its economic impact.

When the dust settled though, the overall market took a battering and slumped 13.7 per cent to a tally of 916,968 units, the first time volume has dipped below 1,000,000 in Australia since 2007 amidst the global financial crisis.

It’s not all bad news though, as the last two months of 2020 saw green shoots start to appear with more cars sold in November and December last year than the equivalent months in 2019.

Some brands will have to bounce back harder than others though, as these were the marques that fell more than double the industry average in 2020.

01. Alpine – down 80.0 per cent

With only a single model in its stable, the French sports car brand was also going to struggle with capturing a large audience, but its 80.0 per cent drop in volume from 35 sales in 2019 to just seven units last year is significant.

Sure, interest in sports cars tend to wane after time, but the Coronavirus complications might have accelerated the A110’s decline in attention.

However, 2021 will see the launch of an even more hardcore A110S that should renew awareness in the Alpine brand, and could even push it back into the green.

Alpine 110


Based on Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP)

02. Citroen – down 49.3 per cent

Having withdrawn from the light-commercial market in 2020 with its Berlingo and Dispatch now offered as the Peugeot Partner and Expert, Citroen lost more than 120 units in volume.

The discontinuation of the C4 Cactus also drove sales down as only two units were sold in 2020, however the popularity of SUVs pushed the C3 Aircross and C5 Aircross into positive territory (up 18.2% and 97.8% respectively).

Overall, just 203 new Citroens were sold last year, meaning it was outsold by Ferrari (205), Genesis (229) and Maserati (467).

Citroen C3 Aircross


Based on Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP)

03. Jaguar – down 41.7 per cent

Though the British brand offers a wide variety of models including the I-Pace electric vehicle (EV), F-Type sports car and F-Pace SUV, buyers seemed to largely ignore Jaguar in 2020.

Each of its model lines saw double-digit declines by at least 30.0 per cent (in the XF large sedan), and as much as 54.8 per cent (for the I-Pace electric SUV), with the brand’s best-selling E-Pace only managing to move 662 (-35.7%) units.

The E- and F-Pace SUVs were in runout though, with the brand consolidating and slimming down each respective line-up that should keep Jaguar agile enough to toll with what 2021 has to bring.

04. Honda – down 33.8 per cent

Honda finished 2019 as the ninth most-popular brand, but with a 33.8 per cent drop in volume in 2020, the Japanese marque has been bumped to 11th.

With news that City and Jazz will not be continued in new-generation form, interest in each model dropped 71.0 and 48.9 per cent respectively, while even the top-selling CR-V, HR-V and Civic conceded at least 30.3 per cent of volume.

This drop in sales is not unexpected though, as Honda pivots to a new sales model this year that will see its monthly average hover around 1650 units.

Honda Civic


Based on Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP)

05. Mitsubishi – down 29.9 per cent

The ASX might still be the small SUV champion, but its 32.4 per cent decline in interest hasn’t helped Mitsubishi break new ground in 2020.

A noticeable drop in Outlander (-31.5%) and Triton (-29.8%) sales have also hurt the Japanese brand, with its year-end tally falling by 29.9 per cent to 58,335 units.

New models like the Eclipse Cross and Outlander this year, as well as an industry-leading 10-year warranty, should keep Mitsubishi high on the buyer consideration list though.

Mitsubishi ASX


Based on Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP)

06. Fiat – down 28.6 per cent

Fiat struggled in 2020 as sales of its best-selling 500 hatch and Abarth 595 hot hatch slowed 22.7 per cent to 520 units.

The now-discontinued Abarth 124 Spider found just 58 new homes in 2020, a decline of 42.6 per cent compared to the year prior, and interest in the 500X small SUV fell even further (-44.8% to 85 sales).

All in, Fiat sold just 663 cars in 2020, and with no confirmation of any fresh product in 2021, that number could dwindle even further.

Fiat 500


Based on Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP)

07. Land Rover – down 28.6 per cent

The launch of the Defender in 2020 did little to quell Land Rover’s decline in 2020, with the brand dropping 28.6 per cent of volume to 6339 sales.

Each of its models, barring the new Defender, struggled to break new ground, with its Range Rover Sport model being the best seller on 1642 units, though still down 25.4 per cent compared to 2019’s result.

Many of Land Rover’s models were on runout though, with updates for the Defender, Discovery, Discovery Sport, Range Rover, Range Rover Velar and Range Rover Sport either hitting late in 2020, or planned for a 2021 introduction.

Land Rover Defender


Based on Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP)

08. Special mention: Holden – down 61.3 per cent

In its final year on sale, Holden sold 16,688 new cars, a drop of 61.3 per cent compared to 2019.

Selling down existing stock, the Colorado ute once again proved most popular with 7559 new registrations, while the discontinued-in-2019 Commodore notched just 1009 sales last year.

Surprisingly the Trax SUV managed a commendable 2314 sales, while the Equinox, Acadia and Trailblazer added 1719, 1407 and 1426 sales respectively.

Not with a bang, but with a whimper, that’s how Holden leaves the Australian new-car market.

Holden Colorado


Based on Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP)

Tung Nguyen
News Editor
Having studied journalism at Monash University, Tung started his motoring journalism career more than a decade ago at established publications like Carsales and Wheels magazine. Since then, he has risen through the ranks at GoAuto to Managing Editor before joining the CarsGuide team in 2019 as the newly-appointed News Editor. Since starting at CarsGuide, Tung has spearheaded the push for well-researched and unique stories that will shines a light on the automotive industry for new-car-buying intenders, who might struggle to keep up to date with the fast-paced environment of motoring. The last few years alone have seen an explosion of interest in electric cars, as well as a push for autonomous driving, and as News Editor, it is Tung’s job to stay abreast of all the latest and deliver stories worthy of CarsGuide growing audience.
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