The slump in new car sales for petrol and diesel vehicles in Australia continues, with new car sales down again in October, which the exception of hybrid and electric vehicles, which have risen again.

Data released by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), the peak body for the automotive industry in Australia, says overall new car sales were down 9.1 per cent compared to the same month last year, and year-to-date sales are down eight per cent over the same period in 2018.

Hybrid sales, meanwhile, are up, and so are EVs, albeit off a low basis, and surveys suggest that many car owners are holding on to their current petrol and diesel vehicles until an EV they like and can afford comes on to the market.

But the dawn of the EV era doesn’t rate a mention in the FCAI’s list of reasons for the slump in car sales, which includes a fall of 15.3 per cent in new passenger vehicles sales, an 11 per cent fall in the light commercial market (mostly utes), and a three per cent fall in the SUV market.

“While the drought and other domestic conditions are impacting the market, our key concern is the effect over-regulation of the financial sector is having on new vehicle sales,” CEO Tony Weber said in a statement.

“The FCAI and our members have been concerned about the risk averse approach to lending in Australia for some time and see improved access to finance as a key to driving economic growth in 2020.”

“Of particular interest is the fact that sales are down across all buyer types, with private sales down 5.2 per cent compared to October 2018, business sales are down 8.2 per cent and government sales are down 7.3 per cent.”

The Toyota Hilux (3,516 units) was the top selling vehicle in October 2019, followed by the Ford Ranger (3,160), the Hyundai i30 (2,216) the Toyota RAV4 (2,132) and the Toyota Corolla (2,117).

The position of the Toyota RAC4 is interesting, as it is understood that it includes a majority hybrid vehicles, a level of interest that surprised Toyota.

The FCAI data for EVs and plug in hybrids was incomplete as it does not include figures for Tesla, which has dominated that sector of the market, particularly since the release of the Model 3.

New sales of electric passenger cars were estimated to have jumped five-fold to 69 from 12 in October, and nearly doubnled to 381 from 208 for the year to date, while electric and plug in hybrids are though to have more than doubled to 75 from 32 in october and risen more than four fold to 678 in year to date.

That likely includes the likes of the Hyundai Kona, and Hyundai Ioniq, but certaintly not Tesla, which calls its own tune and does not release sales data for their vehicles.

Which is a shame, because there is a lot of interest in how many Model 3s were delivered in October after more than 1,200, and possibly between 1,600 and 2,000, were delivered in September.

One day, maybe, the FCAI and the broader automative industry might acknowledge the impact that the interest in EVs and hybrid is having on their traditional petrol and diesel sales.

One day, they might even encourage consumers to switch to EVs and advocate for more infrastructure and incentives. As the recent National Energy Audit discovered, over the last decade the increased use of diesel in cars has more than offset gains in emissions achieved from wind and solar farms.

There’s one way to solve that problem.

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