Chinese cars make great leap forward

MG enters Australia's top 10 best-sellers list for first time.

New figures from the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) reveal that MG Motor forged its way into the list of the country’s top 10 most popular vehicle makes in February, the first Chinese-manufactured automotive brand to achieve the landmark.

MG Motor Australia’s CEO Peter Ciao said the brand was “humbled to make it into the top 10 automotive manufacturers by sales,” describing the achievement as “a momentous milestone for MG in Australia”.

“MG owners have put their trust in our brand and our products and this is an honour and a privilege we will not take for granted,” Mr Ciao said.

“We are proud to offer Australians another choice, and they have responded.”

MG placed eighth on the list of monthly best sellers, with 3017 sales and 3.6% market share, ahead of Volkswagen’s 3009 sales and Subaru (2639). 

The performance also cemented MG in 10th place on the manufacturer’s year-to-date leader board with a cumulative January/February total of 5425 sales and 3.3% market share, narrowly behind Volkswagen’s 5731 sales and 3.5% market share. 

The brand’s February sales were more than double the 1.4% market share MG achieved at the same time last year with Mercedes-Benz cars the brand displaced from the Top 10 by MG’s meteoric rise.

MG’s performance was built on the strong sales of every vehicle in its limited three-model range with the MG HS mid-size SUV and MG MG3 small car more than doubling their sales compared with the same month in 2020,and the MG ZS compact SUV notching up an impressive 263% gain.

While the performance may have called for the popping of champagne corks at MG’s Sydney head office, it didn’t fundamentally alter the make-up of the Australian new car market in February with Toyota again the dominant brand and SUVs and utes again our preferred vehicles.

Total monthly new vehicle sales of 83,977 was up a healthy 5.1% on February 2020, with year-to-date sales of 163,643 vehicles up 7.9% on the same period in 2020.

SUVs continue to dominate the market with sales of 42,651 vehicles, or 50.8% market share, with light commercial vehicle sales claiming 19,326 sales, or 23% share. 

At the same time, sales of passenger vehicles continue to slide, the category’s 19,194 sales representing a 15.3% drop over February 2020.  

The FCAI reported the growth in the market in February was largely driven by private buyers with sales up 15.8% over February 2020, while business purchasers were down 4% and government down 13.8%. 

FCAI chief executive Tony Weber said the results showed that confidence was continuing to grow in the market.

“During the past four months we have seen an increase of 10.6% in new vehicles and this has been reflected with strong growth in NSW, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory in February 2021,” Mr Web er said.

“We remain confident that this trend of growth will continue in an environment where business operating conditions continue to normalise.”

Toyota was the leading brand in February with sales of 18,375 vehicles (21.9% of the market), followed by Mazda with 8322 (9.9%), Hyundai with 6252 (7.4%), Mitsubishi with 6202 (7.4%) and Kia with 5871 (7%).

The Toyota Hilux was the best-selling vehicle, with sales of 4808 vehicles, followed by Ford Ranger (2900), Toyota RAV4 (2750), Toyota LandCruiser (2521) and Toyota Corolla (2427).