New cars sales skyrocketed in March, according to figures released today by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries.
Australians bought 100,005 vehicles last month, about 19,000 more than the same month last year, when much of the country was plunged into COVID-19 lockdown. The result was the best March since 2018.
The head of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), Tony Weber, said the result could have been even better.
“It is possible that the result could have been even stronger if some brands had not been impacted by delivery constraints in global factory supply chains. It is our expectation that these delivery issues will continue to be resolved during the coming months,” said Weber.
A global shortage of semi-conductors for onboard computers has choked supply lines for some brands, leaving customers waiting months for their cars to be delivered.
Sales of SUVs jumped by almost a third in March, while ute sales were up by almost a quarter as Aussies look to explore the great outdoors.
The rise of SUVs and utes has come at the expense of conventional passenger cars such as hatchbacks and sedans, which are down about 10 per cent this year.
Hybrids sales continue you to grow, with sales up more than 40 per cent.
Market leader Toyota was the big winner, selling more than 21,000 vehicles in March, a rise of more than 20 per cent. Offroaders led the charge — the HiLux attracted 5319 buyers, the RAV4 3522 and the LandCruiser 3392.
Mazda also had a banner month, breaking the 10,000 sales mark thanks to strong sales of the CX-5 mid-size SUV.
Chinese brands continued their red hot streak in March as they soared up the sales charts.
MG was the pick of the crop, selling more than 3300 vehicles in the past month.
The MG ZS is now the country’s favourite small SUV and its MG3 small hatch outsells its nearest rival the Toyota Yaris two-to-one.
GWM — formerly known as Great Wall Motors — also had a cracking month led by strong sales of its new Ute.
China is now the fourth largest exporter of cars to Australia, usurping countries such as Germany and the US.
Utes accounted for four of the best-selling vehicles in March. The Toyota HiLux was followed by the Ford Ranger (3983), Mitsubishi Triton (2492) and the Isuzu D-Max (1994).
The Ranger (3983 sales) accounted for about two in every three sales for Ford in March.
In the luxury segment Volvo sales jumped more than 160 per cent in the past month, outselling rivals Lexus, Jaguar and Land Rover.
Jeep is starting to rebuild its popularity after hitting rock bottom in the past few years following a number of scandals and reliability issues.
But the writing might be on the wall for a number of brands, which are failing to grow in a booming market.
Alfa Romeo and Fiat are both down by more than 20 per cent this year and have sold less than 150 vehicles through the first three months.
French brands haven’t fared much better. Citroen only sold 11 cars in the past month, which is two less than Ferrari.
Peugeot and Renault have managed to reverse their sales slide and posted positive results.
Honda’s popularity continues to slide, with sales down by a third this year so far. The brand has reduced its dealer network and plans to cut out the middle man in the sales process from the middle of this year. It will also take back ownership of its vehicles from dealers and introduce no-haggle pricing.
TOP 10 SELLING VEHICLES IN MARCH
Toyota HiLux – 5319
Ford Ranger – 3983
Toyota RAV4 – 3522
Toyota LandCruiser – 3392
Mazda CX-5 – 3022
Toyota Corolla – 2892
Hyundai i30 – 2514
Mitsubishi Triton – 2492
Isuzu D-Max – 1994
Nissan X-Trail – 1932
TOP 10 SELLING BRANDS IN MARCH
Toyota – 21,319
Mazda – 10,785
Hyundai – 6852
Mitsubishi – 6430
Ford – 5977
Kia – 5802
Nissan – 4559
Subaru – 4212
Volkswagen – 3358
MG – 3303