Fleets Support Hybrid Sales
The release of the full-year VFACTS report on new vehicle sales has provided a number of
very interesting statistics… But it was an almost doubling in Hybrid sales that I
thought was well worth noting!
Overall, resulting from a combination of factors contributed to COVID-19, new vehicle sales
fell nearly 14% from 2019 to 2020 – from 1,062,867 units to 916,968. It is of course the first
year in over 10 that the Aus market has not cracked the 1 million mark!
Specific Category Wins
In skimming through the 20 vehicle categories, I noted that there were only 5 that saw
increased sales over the last year – SUV Light, SUV Small, SUV Upper Large, Light Buses (=>
20 Seats) & Vans/CC 2.5-3.5t.
The increase in SUV sales has been a consistent trend in our market for years so no real
surprises there. However, overall SUV sales were still down with the SUV Medium and Large
It demonstrates that in a year of lockdowns sales of vehicles like Prado were incredibly
strong as overseas holidays made way for road trips, often recently acquired caravan to
coastal and regional destinations across the country.
The Vans were of course highly sought after for online food deliveries and other parcel
drop-offs as online shopping accelerated at the expense of retail stores, many of whom
were forced to close.
Hybrids Forge Ahead
So in the worst new vehicle sales market in 10 + years ……..Hybrid vehicle sales almost
doubled! Combined Passenger & SUV Hybrid sales were 60,417, compared to 31,191 in
The vast majority of the Hybrid sales success was enjoyed by Toyota, who remained the
dominant manufacturer overall with a 23.7% market share. This is not an overnight success
story, it has been a long road (and investment) from the launch of the Prius way back in
1997 and comes on the 10-year anniversary of Toyota commencing production of the Camry
Hybrid at their former Altona plant.
RAV4 Hybrid now leads the charge, becoming the bestselling car in Australia in August,
following the arrival of long-awaited stock. But the stable of Hybrid models produced by
Toyota is consistently increasing, with Corolla sales growing strongly and support from
Camry, Yaris, Prius & Prius V.
We expect to see the addition of Hybrid Kluger in the first half of this year
which will no doubt be hugely popular. One of the key drivers of the rise in sales is that
fleets are now seeing a lower Whole Of Life Cost (WOLC) for these vehicles, with enhanced
resale values and better fuel economy offsetting the difference in purchase price over the
cheaper Petrol only engine models.
Importantly, Hybrid vehicles are in many ways easing consumers into acceptance of electric
vehicle technology. Virtually paving the way for us all to gradually transition to
Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs). They provide that ‘stepping stone’ that makes the
purchase decision so much more comfortable, while still making an eco-friendly contribution.
Plug In Electric Vehicle sales were slightly stronger but continue to only represent a small
market, just 1,685 sales this year. Of course, there are few models that fall into this category
– the Mitsubishi Outlander being the most noteworthy.
A 17% increase in Electric vehicles (off an incredibly low base) was disappointing when you
consider the vastly improved overall adoption rates overseas. This continues to reflect a lack
of strategic policy initiative from Australian governments, a lack of infrastructure, our
geographical vastness, the Aussie love affair with petrol fumes, and the pricing gap for BEV
Hybrids are filling the gap in the interim and fleets are now realising the benefits.
If you would like to know more about WOLC please contact us at Fleet Advisory.