New car sales in Australia have shown signs of recovery for the second consecutive month – after four months in the opposite direction – but dealers are still struggling with chronic stock-outs and delivery delays.
Deliveries of new motor vehicles improved in March for the second month in a row – after four months of slowdown – but waiting times for popular models continue to stretch by three to 12 months.
Official new car sales data for March 2022 showed 101,233 new motor vehicles were reported as sold – the strongest March result in four years, but down 5.4% from the record high of mars established in 2018, two years before the global pandemic.
The modest sales increase of 1.2% over the same month of the previous year was attributable to dealers who filled orders for new vehicles placed during the past year.
Wait times for most new cars are between three and 12 months, and dealerships and automakers are now providing broader estimates to avoid customer disappointment.
Production disruptions, combined with shipping constraints – there are now an average of four car-carrying ships docking in Australia each week, up from eight – continue to cause wait times to skyrocket.
In many cases, automakers have stopped providing delivery time estimates because the information can quickly become outdated.
Instead, car dealerships wait for the vehicle to arrive in their showrooms before notifying customers of a collection date.
The lack of transparency – or “forward visibility”, as the industry describes it – has frustrated customers and dealers.
Customers want to know when their new car is due; dealers are not paid until the vehicle is delivered.
“This is a unique time when supply rather than demand determines the size of the market,” said Tony Weber, chief executive of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, in a press release.
“This is due to manufacturers recovering from pandemic-related shutdowns and the current global shortage of (semiconductors).”
Demand for new cars remains strong, but “manufacturers are working hard to match that demand with supply.”
In the meantime, there has been a major shake-up at the top of the sales charts.
The Ford Ranger slipped out of the Top 3 for the second month in a row, as Ford sells stock of the depleted model ahead of the new generation due mid-year.
The Toyota HiLux was the best-selling vehicle for the third month in a row and posted a sales record in March – with 6,324 deliveries, just below its all-time high of 6,537 set in June 2020.
It was also a record result for 4×4 variants of the Toyota HiLux (4,911 against the previous record of 4,811 set in June 2020).
The Mitsubishi Triton ute cracked the top four in the sales charts for the third month in a row, after a massive shipment of vehicles arrived.
Indeed, the Mitsubishi Triton posted a March record last month (3,808), although it was a far cry from its all-time monthly sales record of 4,124 set in June 2014. March was also an all-time record. time for the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport.
Two passenger cars entered the Top 10 – the Hyundai i30 and the Toyota Corolla – after only one passenger car appeared in the Top 10 in February 2022 for the first time in recorded history.
All other Top 10 vehicles were Utes or SUVs.
Demand for electric cars continues to climb at a rapid pace, up 141% from the same month last year – excluding Tesla which did not provide a monthly breakdown for March this year compared to last year.
Including Tesla – which now provides sales data to official industry markers – so far this year 6,752 electric vehicles have been reported as sold in Australia, or 2.6% of the 262,436 new motor vehicles delivered in the first three months of 2022.
Sales of petrol-electric hybrid cars – largely driven by market leader Toyota – continue to set records, up 27.6% year-to-date, with 20,585 sales reported in the first three month of 2022.
Hybrid cars now account for around a third of new Toyotas sold in Australia.
Gasoline car sales (135,504) fell 11.8% – in line with the slump in conventional passenger car sales (down 9.7%) – in the first three months of this year.
Reflecting the surge in sales of utility, van and four-wheel-drive vehicles, deliveries of diesel vehicles (89,114) outpaced market growth, increasing 6.5% from January to March 2022.
Data below provided by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries and compiled by Drive News reporter William Davis.
TOP 10 CARS IN MARCH 2022
|Rank||Model||Volume March 2022||Change from year to year|
|1||Toyota HiLux||6324||up 18.9%|
|2||Toyota RAV4||4610||up 30.9%|
|3||Mitsubishi Triton||3808||up 52.8%|
|4||Mazda CX-5||3772||up 24.8%|
|5||Ford Ranger||2960||down 25.7%|
|6||Hyundai i30||2455||down 2.3%|
|7||Isuzu D-Max||2447||up 22.7%|
|8||Toyota Prado||2230||up 84.1%|
|9||Toyota Corolla||1924||down 33.5%|
|ten||Mazda CX-30||1829||up 49.3%|
TOP 10 CAR BRANDS IN MARCH 2022
|Rank||Mark||Volume March 2022||Change from year to year|
Passenger cars: Top 3 in each segment in March 2022
|Microphone||Kia Picanto (374)||Mitsubishi Mirage (122)||Fiat 500 (74)|
|Lightweight||MG3 (1528)||Suzuki Baleno (958)||Mazda2 (328)|
|Lightweight > $25,000||Audi A1 (81)||Mini (71)||Citroen C3 (16)|
|Small||Hyundai i30 (2455)||Toyota Corolla (1924)||Kia Cerato (1238)|
|Small > $40,000||Mercedes-Benz A-Class (365)||Audi A3 (141)||BMW 1 Series (109)|
|Average||Toyota Camry (920)||Skoda Octavia (197)||Mazda 6 (147)|
|Medium > $60,000||BMW 3 Series (335)||Mercedes–Benz CLA-Class (203)||Mercedes–Benz C-Class (192)|
|Large||Kia Stinger (236)||Skoda Superb (73)|
|Large > $70,000||Porsche Taycan (75)||Mercedes-Benz E-Class (47)||BMW 5 Series (29)|
|Grand superior||Chrysler 300 (18)|
|Grand superior > $100,000||Mercedes-Benz S-Class (20)||Porsche Panamera (6)||BMW 7 Series, Lexus LS (5)|
|people movers||Kia Carnival (530)||Hyundai Staria (233)||Honda Odyssey (104)|
|Sports||Ford Mustang (117)||BMW 2 series coupe/convertible (68)||Subaru BRZ (65)|
|Sports > $80,000||BMW 4 series coupe/convertible (73)||Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe/Cabriolet (70)||Audi A5 (18)|
|Sports > $200,000||Porsche 911 (61)||Ferrari coupe/convertible (20)||Bentley coupé/convertible (10)|
SUV: Top 3 in each segment in March 2022
|light SUV||Mazda CX-3 (931)||Hyundai Venue (759)||Toyota Yaris Cross, Kia Stonic (734)|
|Small SUV||MazdaCX-30 (1829)||MG ZS (1756)||Hyundai Kona (1246)|
|Small SUV > $40,000||Volvo XC40 (451)||Audi Q3 (416)||Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class (278)|
|Average SUV||Toyota RAV4 (4610)||Mazda CX-5 (3772)||Mitsubishi Outlander (1619)|
|Medium SUV > $60,000||Lexus NX (474)||Mercedes-Benz GLC Wagon (458)||Volvo XC60 (451)|
|Large SUV||Toyota Prado (2230)||Mitsubishi Pajero Sport (1669)||Subaru Outback (1187)|
|Large SUV > $70,000||Land Rover Range Rover Sports (267)||BMW X5 (220)||Land Rover Defender (200)|
|Large Superior SUV||Nissan Patrol Wagon (918)||Toyota LandCruiser Wagon (844)|
|Large Superior SUV > $100,000||BMW X7 (68)||Mercedes-Benz GLS (46)||Audi Q8 (27)|
Utes and vans: Top 3 in each segment in March 2022
|Vans||Renault Kangoo (185)||Volkswagen Caddy (80)||Peugeot Partner (35)|
|Vans 2.5t-3.5t||Toyota HiAce Van (802)||Load Hyundai Staria (304)||LDV G10/G10+ (285)|
|4×2 Utes||Toyota Hilux 4×2 (1413)||Isuzu Ute D-Max 4×2 (744)||Mazda BT50 (422)|
|4×4 Utes||Toyota Hilux 4×4 (4911)||Mitsubishi Triton 4×4 (3446)||Ford Ranger 4×4 (2443)|