11 Jan 2021

Almost no vehicle sales in April 2020, says Motor Industry Association

9:33 am on 11 January 2021

New car sales were down by more than a fifth in 2020, with Covid-19 bringing a hit to the industry during lockdown.

Parked cars for sale, car yard.

The Motor Industry Association says sales could have been even stronger if it weren't for the pandemic (File image). Photo: 123RF

While the figures is a little better than the Motor Industry Association (MIA) anticipated last May, when it thought sales would be down by about a third, it said the sales could have been even stronger if it weren't for the pandemic.

MIA chief executive David Crawford told Morning Report the total light and heavy vehicles sales were just under 120,000 for 2020, which was 23 percent down compared to 2019.

He said there were almost no sales in April last year.

"I think we had about 10-12 percent of normal in April, and March and May were also down. Then something happened that we hadn't fully anticipated, June was strong and July was one of the strongest months we've had on record.

"And what it turned out to be, because people couldn't travel overseas ... so they've been using the money they can't go overseas travel on doing things like trading in a vehicle, buying bikes, boats, caravans and doing house renovations."

The most popular cars were the Ford Ranger, small and medium sized SUVs, followed 4x4 utes and medium cars.

With the rollout of a vaccine expected to start sometime this year, Crawford said the first half would probably still be bumpy for sales.

"We think by end of 2021 sales should've recovered most of what we don't have at the moment, so the markets should recover by the end of 2021, that's what we're hoping."

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