New vehicle sales in Australia in June 2020 were down just 6.4% year on year, described by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) as "the strongest result since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis".

A total of 110,234 vehicles were sold last month. 

In contrast, March sales fell 17.9%, April's 48.5% and May's 35.3%.

FCAI chief executive Tony Weber, attributed the "slight recovery" to the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, seasonality, the extension of the federal government's instant asset write-off scheme, and brand and dealer proactivity.

"Some states have seen the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, and this has increased floor traffic through dealerships," Weber said.

"In addition, June is traditionally a very strong month for new vehicle sales. The end of financial year [sales] campaigns are well known, so it's an excellent time for businesses and consumers to replace their vehicles.

"In June 2020, this has been reflected in strong results for business purchases, which have increased by 6.3% on June 2019.

"The extension of the government's instant asset write-off scheme has also been a positive influence.

"This programme allows businesses to bring forward tax deductions for eligible expenditure.

"Finally, we have seen a strong surge in marketing activity from both brands and dealerships who are offering an array of attractive retail packages in a bid to recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"With all of this activity favouring consumers, there's no doubt that there has never been a better time to negotiate the purchase of a new vehicle," Weber added.

Toyota was the best-selling brand in June, with 22,867 sales recorded.  In second place was Mazda with 9,420 sales, followed by Hyundai with 7,737 sales, Ford with 7,624 sales and Mitsubishi with 7,419 sales.

Four of the five top selling vehicles in June were 4x4 vehicles, reflecting the unique nature of the Australian market.

The top-selling vehicle was the Toyota Hi-Lux with 6,537 sales (up 21.1% on June 2019), followed by the Ford Ranger with 5,329 sales (up 9.9%), the Toyota Corolla with 3,008 sales (down 4.1%), the Toyota Landcruiser with 2,909 sales (up 23.3%) and the Mitsubishi Triton with 2,721 sales (up 1.0%).

Despite these "green shoots", the FCAI said June was the 27th consecutive month of decreasing sales for the automotive industry, a fact which, over time, has been attributed to a number of environmental, political, financial and health issues within the Australian market.

Weber added associated Government initiatives had likely supported the slight recovery. 

"Stimulus packages from the federal government, such as Job Keeper and Job Seeker, have helped to restore some consumer confidence and supported the small bounce back during June.

 "However, there's no doubt that the new vehicle industry in Australia is still under high pressure.

"We're not out of the woods yet," Weber said.