A mid-year snapshot of car sales data in the Australian car market

9 minute read

A mid-year snapshot of car sales data in the Australian car market

The first half of 2022 has seen some historical lows and highs in auto sales. To start with, new car sales reached a 10-year low in June, going below 100,000 units for the first time (down to 99,974 units). According to reports of car sales data by The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), this brings the total number of vehicles sold so far in 2022 to 537,858, a decline of 9.7% compared to the same point last year.

On the other hand, used cars have skyrocketed, with prices rising 79% since the start of the pandemic. Supply chain issues are still to blame, with some customers waiting over a year for deliveries.
But the car sales data also tell a story of a strong market with soaring demand. Some car manufacturers are reaping big, with many of the month's bestsellers enjoying double-digit growth compared to the previous year.

Top 10 Australian car models in 2022

In this topsy-turvy market, there were mixed fortunes for car brands. Although some mainstream brands fell markedly, a few brands have been pressing their way up. Korean sister brands Hyundai and Kia are enjoying massive growth, with models such as the Hyundai Tucson gaining almost 90% YTD.

Take a look at the mid-year Top 10 snapshot compared to June 2021:
  1. Toyota Hilux — 7,582 units sold, up 40.10%
  2. Hyundai Tucson — 2,840 units sold, up 89.84%
  3. Ford Ranger — 2,802 units sold, down 53.75%
  4. Toyota Corolla — 2,605 units sold, up 19.77%
  5. Toyota RAV4 — 2,586 units sold, up 3.40%
  6. Isuzu Ute D-Max — 2,383 units sold, down -24.76%
  7. Kia Sportage — 2,044 units sold, up 136.85%
  8. Mitsubishi Triton — 2,014 units sold, down 10.09%
  9. Hyundai i30 — 1,801 units sold, down 22.74%
  10. MG HS — 1,795 units sold, up 78.96%

As expected, Toyota continues to top the charts, something the marque has done every year since 2003. In January this year, the company celebrated 25 years as Australia's best-selling vehicle brand, with 223,642 vehicles sold in 2021 (its third-highest year ever in the country).

The Toyota Hilux is also enjoying a six-year run at the top, topping the commercial, ute and SUV segments.
Kia and Hyundai's 2nd and 3rd spots for the month are unsurprising. Mazda's sales dropped by 48.9%, driving it to the fourth spot for June, although it still enjoys 2nd place YTD. Mitsubishi got fifth place, while Ford grabbed sixth despite a 41.2% drop in sales from May and 24.6% from the previous year.

Mercedes, Subaru, and Isuzu rounded off the top 10, with brands like Volkswagen, BMW, and Suzuki missing. Nissan conspicuously fell a massive 52.8% to become the biggest loser of the month.

Leading vehicle categories

Looking at the vehicle sales statistics by segment, the luxury vehicle segment is once again beginning to gain ground, while passenger and light commercial vehicles declined slightly. The SUV market grew to 55.38% of the total sales, compared to 50.88% in June passenger cars fell slightly from 22.11% to 19.46%, while light commercial sales fell to 25.16% from 27.02%.

Looking at the overall segment sales, the biggest losers were utes/pickups, small and large SUVs, and small vehicles. Medium SUV sales increased by more than 2,600 units to 19,254, up from 16,603 units in June 2021.

The light SUV category remained unchanged, while "upper large" SUVs and "people movers" enjoyed a slight increase.

The top 3 sellers from each segment were:
  • Micro — Kia Picanto (-91%), Mitsubishi Mirage (-13%), and Fiat 500 (-49.2%)
  • Light (sub-$25k) — MG 3 (-2%), Suzuki Baleno (+195%), and Kia Rio (+9%)
  • Light (over $25k) — Mini hatch (-33%), Audi A1 (-74%), and Citroën C3 (-61%)
  • Small cars (sub-$40k) — Toyota Corolla (+20%), Hyundai i30 (-23%), and Kia Cerato (-41%)
  • Small cars (over $40k) — Mercedes-Benz A-Class (-41%), Audi A3 (+999%), and BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe (-46%)
  • Medium (sub-$60k) — Toyota Camry (-46%), Volkswagen Passat (-24%), and Škoda Octavia (-52%)
  • Medium (over $60k) — Mercedes-Benz C-Class (-15%), Mercedes-Benz CLA (+95%), and BMW 3-Series (-65%)
  • Large cars (over $70k) — Audi A6 (+47%), Porsche Taycan (+9%), and BMW 5-Series (-61%)
  • Upper large cars (over $100k) — Mercedes-Benz S-Class (-41%), BMW 7-Series (+14%), and Rolls-Royce sedan (unchanged)
Additional trends found in the car sales data

The trends are pretty much the same for other sub-categories, including sports cars, small and large SUVs, and upper-large SUVs. Mainstream brands continue to dominate, but overall sales for all but medium SUVs declined.

One outlier in 2022's car sales data was the heavy commercial vehicle market. This market is up 3.5% from last year, with the sale of 22,352 units.

Even though petrol and diesel vehicles continue to lead overall, electric, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid vehicles were the only ones to post significant growth compared to 2021.

Outlook on car sales for the rest of 2022

Despite the declining new vehicle sales across the board, the market remains very strong. In fact, the year-to-date performance is only down 4%. Moreover, having sold 1,049,831 vehicles in 2021, we are on track to hit the 1,000,000 mark by the end of the year.

However, the ongoing chip shortage and the Russia/Ukraine war continue to exacerbate global supply chain problems. In fact, some experts are predicting that these issues could continue to the end of 2022 and beyond.

Despite all this, the Australian automotive industry has historically been strong and has weathered many storms. Globally, McKinsey expects the automotive market to continue growing, albeit at a slower pace.

We believe the same underlying trends highlighted in this mid-year report's car sales data will become stronger in the near future:

  • Mainstream models will face more competition from smaller brands.
  • Countries like Korea and China will use their industrial capacity to scale up production to meet the demand and increase market share.
  • EV and PHEV vehicles will continue to grow in popularity, and their sales will increase.
  • As new vehicle deliveries face challenges, people carriers and ride-sharing could gain popularity.
  • Slow economic growth could cause luxury and SUV segments to continue declining, a risk for dealerships.

Of course, things could change much sooner. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it's that markets could shift in days. So if your dealership is going to ride the next wave, you need accurate, on-demand automotive business intelligence and car sales data to help you make the right decisions.

Let SalesLogs's automotive business intelligence software give your dealership a solid advantage for the future. Book a demo today to learn more about our solution's unique capabilities for car dealerships.

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