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"Now's the time to snare a bargain": New-car market suffers biggest May drop in 30 years as dealers ready incredible EOFY deals

The new-car market fell 35 per cent in May.

Australia's peak automotive body says now's the time to snare a bargain as the combination of a coronavirus-impacted new-car market and traditional end of financial year deals set to collide this month.

The Australian new-car market fell 35 per cent in May as the pandemic continued to wreak havoc. Just 59,894 new cars found homes last month, compared to 92,561 in May 2019. 

Last month marked both the 26th consecutive month of falls for the new-car market in Australia, as well largest drop in May results since records began being kept in 1991. 

“May 2020 is the 26th consecutive month of negative growth for the market, and the causative factors are well documented - droughts, floods, bushfires, tight lending conditions, unfavourable exchange rates, and political uncertainty," says Federal Chamber of Automatic Industries (FCAI) chief executive Tony Weber.

“Now, we add to that the devastating effect of the COVID-19 pandemic over the past three months.

"While COVID-19 is primarily a health crisis, it has brought about an economic crisis as well. These are difficult times for the global and domestic economy, and this of course has repercussions for the local sales sector, including the automotive industry."

Australia's top 10 brands in May were Toyota (14,466 sales), Mazda (5661 sales), Hyundai (4109 sales), Ford (3894 sales), Mitsubishi (3010 sales), Volkswagen (2781 sales), Kia (2760 sales), Nissan (2216 sales), Subaru (2023 sales) and BMW (2013 sales).

As far as our best-selling vehicle goes, there's no real surprise. The Toyota HiLux took top billing with 3527 sales, while arch rival, the Ford Ranger, managed 2663 sales in May.

Read More About Toyota HiLux

But no matter where you look in last month's data, its largely devastation across the board. Which has prompted Mr Weber to point to the huge discounts expected from dealers in the lead up to the tractional EOFY sales period

“Anecdotally, we may be beginning to see some ‘green shoots’ in the marketplace. With people venturing out a little more, dealers have advised of a slight uptick in floor traffic through dealerships," he says. 

“Additionally, we are hearing from some brands that website traffic is on the rise – a sure sign of increased purchasing interest.

“And finally, brand End of Financial Year campaigns have started, meaning the opportunity to snare a bargain has increased significantly. So if you are in the market for a new vehicle, now’s the time to visit your local dealer.”

Andrew Chesterton
Contributing Journalist
Andrew Chesterton should probably hate cars. From his hail-damaged Camira that looked like it had spent a hard life parked at the end of Tiger Woods' personal driving range, to the Nissan Pulsar Reebok that shook like it was possessed by a particularly mean-spirited demon every time he dared push past 40km/h, his personal car history isn't exactly littered with gold. But that seemingly endless procession of rust-savaged hate machines taught him something even more important; that cars are more than a collection of nuts, bolts and petrol. They're your ticket to freedom, a way to unlock incredible experiences, rolling invitations to incredible adventures. They have soul. And so, somehow, the car bug still bit. And it bit hard. When "Chesto" started his journalism career with News Ltd's Sunday and Daily Telegraph newspapers, he covered just about everything, from business to real estate, courts to crime, before settling into state political reporting at NSW Parliament House. But the automotive world's siren song soon sounded again, and he begged anyone who would listen for the opportunity to write about cars. Eventually they listened, and his career since has seen him filing car news, reviews and features for TopGear, Wheels, Motor and, of course, CarsGuide, as well as many, many others. More than a decade later, and the car bug is yet to relinquish its toothy grip. And if you ask Chesto, he thinks it never will.
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