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VFACTS: Sales top million mark despite pandemic

ON TOP: Toyota HiLux finished 2021 as Australia's best selling vehicle.

Australian new vehicle sales up 14.5% on 2020 figures; Toyota number one again

6 Jan 2022

AUSTRALIAN new car sales have topped the million mark in 2021 representing a 14.5 per cent increase on the total number achieved in the preceding year. In all, 1,049,831 new vehicles were sold in Australia last year. 


Toyota topped Australia’s new car sales list with 223,642 (21.3%), the importer taking five of the top 10 places on the new model sales ladder.


The strong outright sales figure comes in spite of the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, related international supply issues, and the current shortage of microprocessors globally; Toyota, Mazda and Hyundai achieving particularly high sales numbers on the 2021 leader board.


Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) CEO Tony Weber said that in the context of pandemic restrictions the new vehicle market in Australia remains positive. 


“Despite the pandemic restricting access to showrooms in 2021, Australian consumers found ways to purchase new vehicles and did so in solid numbers,” Mr Weber said. 


“The global shortage of microprocessors, compounded by the pandemic, had an impact on the number of cars sold throughout Australia. Automotive manufacturers are continuing to work to strengthen supply chains in 2022.” 


Mr Weber noted an ongoing preference among Australia buyers for SUV and light commercial vehicles. A total of 531,700 SUVs were sold across 2021, a figure that accounts for more than half of all new vehicles sold and an increase of 16.9 per cent on the year prior. 


Light commercial vehicle sales were up 23.2 per cent on the total number sold in 2020, utility models accounting for 23.2 per cent of all new car sales with a total of 253,254 vehicles sold. Indeed, LCV models accounted for four of the top 10 best-selling models overall in 2021.


But it seems that the high percentage of SUV and LCV sales has come at the cost of traditional passenger vehicle sales. Hatch and sedan model sales were down 0.2 per cent in 2021 to 221,556 units against 2020 figures, the tally less than the total number of vehicles sold by Australia’s most popular brand – Toyota – in the same year.


Toyota was again the highest selling brand in 2021 with 223,642 vehicles sold resulting in 21.3 per cent of the overall market share. The Japanese brand more than doubled the number of new vehicles sold by second place Mazda (101,119 units and a 9.6 per cent market share) and tripled the total of cars sold by third-place Hyundai (72,872 units and 6.9 per cent market share).


Ford finished in fourth place for 2021 with 71,380 vehicles sold (6.8 per cent market share) while fifth place went to Kia with 67,964 vehicles sold (6.5 per cent market share).


Most vehicles imported to Australia in 2021 were sourced from Japan (350,934) ahead of Thailand (230,520) and South Korea (145,025). Unsurprisingly, there were zero locally-manufactured vehicles sold here in 2021.


The FCAI says that of all passenger, SUV and LCVs sold, more than half (51.3%) were registered to private owners.


Electric vehicles saw an increase of 191.1 per cent on 2020 figures. However, battery-electric vehicles account for less than half a per cent of all new vehicles sold in Australia. 


Petrol passenger vehicles were the most popular of all fuel types sold in 2021 (580,495) ahead of diesel (346,990), hybrid (70,466), battery electric (5149) and plug-in hybrid (3,372) models. Thirty-eight hydrogen powered vehicles were sold nationally in 2021.


“While this number may appear impressive, it is important to note that overall electric vehicle sales as reported through VFACTS account for just 0.49 per cent of the total market share,” Mr Weber said.


“In this context, we must recognise the policy objective should be to lower our CO2 emissions rather than meeting sales targets of particular types of technology. The FCAI maintains the need for national leadership in the form of a technology agnostic and achievable emissions reduction target,” he added. 


The December (2021) market of 78,402 new vehicles sales is a decrease of 17,250 units (-18.0%) on the same month last year. December has 24 selling days compared to 23 the same month the year prior, but this resulted in a decrease of 892 vehicle sales per day.


December passenger vehicle sales were likewise down -5481 units (or -27.4%) over the same month last year, the SUV and LCV markets also down at -9125 units (or 18.4%) and -2759 units (or -12.2%) respectively.


Toyota was the market leader for the month December followed by Mazda and Hyundai.


2021 Top 10 vehicle sales by make:

Make Units sold Share
Toyota 223,642 21.3%
Mazda 101,119 9.6%
Hyundai 72,872 6.9%
Ford 71,380 6.8%
Kia 67,964 6.5%
Mitsubishi 67,732 6.5%
Nissan 41,263 3.9%
Volkswagen 40,770 3.9%
MG 39,025 3.7%
Subaru 37,015 3.5%


2021 Top 10 vehicle sales by model:

Model Units sold
Toyota HiLux 52,801
Ford Ranger 50,279
Toyota RAV4 35,751
Toyota Corolla 28,768
Toyota LandCruiser 26,633
Hyundai i30 25,575
Isuzu D-MAX 25,117
Mazda CX-5 24,968
Toyota LandCruiser Prado 21,299
Mitsubishi Triton 19,232


2021 Top vehicle sales by state:

State Units sold Variance
New South Wales 328,185 +8.6%
Victoria 272,733 +20.4%
Queensland 229,775 +17.4%
Western Australia 106,134 +18.7%
South Australia 68,605 +14.2%
Tasmania 18,564 +18.4%
Australian Capital Territory 16,002 -18.7%
Northern Territory 9,833 +27.2%



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