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2020 new car sales: Mitsubishi, Hyundai and others losing ground in declining market

Mitsubishi sales have fallen by nearly 40 per cent this year, with its top-selling Triton ute struggling to break new ground.

It’s been a rough year for new vehicle sales. Even before the Coronavirus pandemic put the brakes on new car buying, car brands and dealers were facing a challenge to keep up the record pace of recent years.

It’s not all bad news, Australia has certainly fared better than Europe and the USA where social distancing laws have brought sales to almost a halt. But despite government incentives to try and get people back into car yards, sales year-to-date to May are down 23.9 per cent across the industry.

For some brands though, this period has been worse. CarsGuide has analysed the latest new car sales data from the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries to see which brands have had the hardest time so far in 2020. Using the industry 23.9 per cent figure as a guide, these are six brands that are performing below the market.

In the interest of consumer relevance, we’ve focused on mainstream and volume brands, excluding the likes of Alpine (down 92.3%), Jaguar (down 40.1%) and Alfa Romeo (down 38.9%).

Citroen - down 55.3%

Citroen has only sold 22 C5 Aircross so far this year.

The French brand has always struggled in Australia, but 2020 has been especially rough. As recently as October 2019, the brand was staging another ‘rebuild’ in an attempt to attract more customers to its new range of SUVs.

Unfortunately, the loss of its Berlingo and Dispatch commercial vans has had a negative impact on its sales numbers. Add to that a lukewarm commercial reception to its C3 Aircross (30 sold so far this year) and C5 Aircross (only 22 sold) means the brand has only managed 76 sales in 2020 after five months.

To put that in perspective, Kia has sold 106 Optima in the same period, despite the huge decline in mid-size sedan sales and limited marketing effort behind the model.

Read More About Citroen C3 Aircross

Fiat - down 49.8%

Fiat sales have nearly halved in 2020 as both the 500 and 500X fail to find buyers as they get older.

We’ve already looked at the Italian brand’s current troubles before, but it simply can’t be avoided again. Sales have nearly halved in 2020 as both the 500 and 500X fail to find buyers as they get older.

The brand’s only other model, the Abarth 124 Spider, also has limited appeal but it has still managed to find 36 new owners, which means it’s only down 10 per cent year-to-date.

With the brand not yet publicly committed to the next-generation 500 and sister-brand Jeep dropping the Renegade that is a twin-under-the-skin of the 500X, the future of the famed Italian brand looks uncertain.

Renault - down 40.2%

Koleos sales are down 52.4 per cent on 2019.

It’s a bad year for French brands, with Renault joining Citroen on Struggle Street.

Globally the brand is struggling and has just commenced a major reorganisation in a bid to correct course, but on a domestic level, Renault has failed to lure Australian buyers.

Less than 2000 cars sold in five months is a rough start to the year, even for a relatively small player like Renault. But when you look at the sales decline of its key models - Captur down 82.7 per cent, Clio down 92.7 per cent, Koleos down 52.4 per cent and even the commercial Kangoo van down 47 per cent - it makes hard reading for Francophiles.

Mitsubishi - down 39.2%

ASX sales are down 35.4% on 2019.

On the plus side, the Japanese company is still the fourth best-selling brand in the country, racking up more than 21,000 sales despite the sharp downturn.

But there’s no escaping it has been a rough year for Mitsubishi with sales down nearly 40 per cent. And there’s no specific problem, every model in the range has suffered double digit decline including its popular Triton ute (down 32.2% for the 4x4 variants) and ASX small SUV (down 35.4%).

Read More About Citroen C3 Aircross

Hyundai - down 34%

The departure of the Accent city car has also left a hole in the line-up that the Venue baby SUV has been unable to fill.

Like Mitsubishi, the South Korean brand is doing well when you look at its position on the sales charts - third behind Toyota and Mazda. But like Mitsubishi, Hyundai has suffered big hits on its key models.

The i30 is down 28.1 per cent, the Tucson down 26.9 per cent and the Santa Fe down 24 per cent - all key volume models for the brand.

The departure of the Accent city car has also left a hole in the line-up that the Venue baby SUV has been unable to fill; to May 2019 Hyundai sold 5480 Accents, but year-to-date the Venue has only managed 1333.

One positive for Hyundai is its electrified Ioniq range appears to be finding more buyers, it’s actually up 1.8 per cent on its 2019 sales - which is significant given the current state of the market.

Stephen Ottley
Contributing Journalist
Steve has been obsessed with all things automotive for as long as he can remember. Literally, his earliest memory is of a car. Having amassed an enviable Hot Wheels and Matchbox collection as a kid he moved into the world of real cars with an Alfa Romeo Alfasud. Despite that questionable history he carved a successful career for himself, firstly covering motorsport for Auto Action magazine before eventually moving into the automotive publishing world with CarsGuide in 2008. Since then he's worked for every major outlet, having work published in The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age,, Street Machine, V8X and F1 Racing. These days he still loves cars as much as he did as a kid and has an Alfa Romeo Alfasud in the garage (but not the same one as before... that's a long story).
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