Vehicle sales jump sharply in March

·2-min read

New vehicle sales climbed by more than 20 per cent in March as the market continued to bounce back after last year's hit from COVID-19.

The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries says 100,005 new cars and trucks were sold last month, 18,315 more than in March last year before the worst of the coronavirus-induced downturn.

The 22.4 per cent increase over the month put the market up 13 per cent in the first quarter of 2021 to 263,648 units.

It followed a 5.1 per cent rise in February and an 11.1 per cent improvement in January and further entrenched the turnaround for the sector after sales fell 48.5 per cent in April and 35 per cent in May last year, as Australia endured the first COVID-19 wave.

FCAI Chief Executive Tony Weber said strong interest from private buyers had helped drive the improvement last month.

"It is possible that the result could have been even stronger if some brands had not been impacted by delivery constraints in global factory supply chains," he said.

"It is our expectation that these delivery issues will continue to be resolved during the coming months."

Toyota was the market leader selling 21,319 vehicles ahead of Mazda on 10,785 and Hyundai on 6852.

Toyota also had the top-selling vehicle in March, the company retailing 5319 units across its HiLux range, followed by the Ford Ranger on 3983 and the Toyota Rav4 on 3522.

The March result also revealed a sharp jump in demand for electric cars and petrol-electric hybrids with 7245 sold for the month, compared to 4936 for the same period in 2020.

Overall, Sports Utility Vehicles continued to dominate the Australian market accounting for 51,705 or more than half the sales, compared to 21,360 for passenger cars and 26,940 across light and heavy commercials.