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A look at the 2022 Australian car market

A look at the 2022 Australian car market

Every new year brings new challenges, but the 2022 Australian car market will go on the books as having a unique set of challenges and circumstances. The worldwide global chip shortage created huge supply issues, not to mention shipping and other complications. Sales still haven't reached pre-pandemic levels, but this was not due to a lack of consumer demand.

Overall, 2022 was a year of growth for the auto sales industry, which is good news! With that said, there were some downsides. Let's look at the good and the not-so-good in the 2022 Australian car market.

How many cars were sold In 2022?

Despite the many issues confronting the Australian car market, 1,081,429 vehicles were sold. This is an increase of three per cent over the year before, which only saw 1,049,831 new vehicle sales. So while the pandemic certainly put a dent in the car sales industry, growth continued. With that said, they haven't bounced back from pre-pandemic sales levels. For example, 2018 saw 1,153,111 vehicles sold.

It's important to note that the relatively weak sales were not due to a lack of demand but a lack of supply. The global chip shortage and other supply-related delays have resulted in less inventory availability. For many car buyers, purchasing the car they wanted was a challenge. Gone were the days of heading down to your local auto dealership and driving home with the vehicle you wanted. In many cases, consumers found themselves on waiting lists or searching daily in hopes that the car they wanted would show up.
Still, even with the setbacks, the overall market at least showed growth over the previous year.

What vehicles did Australians purchase in 2022? 

According to the Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV), these were the top ten selling automotive makes for the year 2022, broken down by sales numbers:

  • Toyota — 231,050
  • Mazda — 95,718 
  • Kia — 78,330 
  • Mitsubishi — 76,991 
  • Hyundai — 73,345 
  • Ford — 66,628 
  • MG — 49,582 
  • Subaru — 36,036 
  • Isuzu Ute — 35,323 
  • Volkswagen — 30,946

One in every five vehicles sold in Australia was a Toyota, making it the clear winner in overall sales. No other manufacturer came close to Toyota's sales, largely due to the popularity of their light utility vehicles. The carmaker continues working to fulfil the demand for their vehicles. For many buyers, getting the Toyota they wanted meant waiting.

Mazda came in second in the 2022 Australian car market, mostly due to the popular SUV model, the CX-5.

These are the top ten models of the year:

  • Toyota HiLux — 64,391
  • Ford Ranger — 47,479
  • Toyota RAV4 — 34,845
  • Mitsubishi Triton — 27,436
  • Mazda CX-5 — 27,062
  • Toyota Corolla — 25,284
  • Toyota LandCruiser — 24,542
  • Isuzu Ute D-Max — 24,336
  • MG ZS — 22,466
  • Hyundai i30 — 21,166

The undisputed champion of sales last year was the Toyota HiLux, which helped put Toyota in the top spot. The HiLux is an excellent vehicle with good towing capacity, reliability, and fuel economy, making it excellent for work, play, or just as a general daily driver. Coming in second as a popular make and competition for the HiLux was the Ford Ranger, and after that, the Mitsubishi Triton.

It's interesting to note that most of the vehicles on the top ten list are either trucks or SUVs, with only three of the ten being passenger cars. The Toyota Corolla won a top spot over the MG ZS and the Hyundai i30. 

Utility trucks continued to be popular in the 2022 Australian car market. But SUVs also made a strong showing. Four of the vehicles on the top-selling list were SUVs.

The Toyota RAV4 was the top-selling SUV model and remains popular as a well-rounded vehicle with good looks, plenty of cargo space, and decent fuel economy. Number two in the SUV category is the sporty Mazda CX-5. While the CX-5 is an attractive choice with comparable safety features, it fell short in cargo space and fuel economy. Also, unlike the RAV4, the CX-5 does not offer a hybrid or EV option.

Overall, the demand for light utility vehicles is high, with Toyota leading the way. This includes hybrid models. Last year, Toyota delivered 72,815 of its hybrid models to Australian consumers.

Electric vehicle sales in 2022

Electric vehicle sales saw an increase in 2022. According to Drive, 33,410 EVs were sold in Australia, with Tesla making up approximately 58.6% of these sales. Australians are becoming increasingly drawn to EVs for a variety of reasons, including rising fuel costs and a desire to do their part to help the environment.
While Tesla took the top two EV spots (with the Model 3 coming in first and the Model Y following it), the BYD Atto 3 was the third best-selling EV in 2022.

Why did Tesla take such a large share of EV sales in 2022? Of course, brand familiarity, superior tech, and increasing amounts of charging stations are part of it. But it's also worth noting that many of the 2022 sales were simply orders being filled from the year before. 

What's coming in the future? A wave of EV utes is arriving, including a Toyota LandCruiser series, a Ford F150 and a Chevy Silverado, among others. 

Tesla is currently anticipating increased demand in 2023 and is scrambling to open more Supercharger sites throughout the country.

Overall, the 2022 Australian car market was remarkable. Unprecedented circumstances posed challenges that the market had never seen before. Despite these challenges, sales were still strong. It will be interesting to see how 2023 fares with the increasing popularity of EVs, rising interest rates, and (hopefully) an end to pandemic-related shortages and delivery problems.

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