Australians faced plenty of challenges in 2021 but maintained a healthy appetite for new vehicles.
Buoyed by low interest rates and rising housing values, Australians set aside concerns about the ongoing pandemic to splurge on more than one million new vehicles during 2021.
Industry sales figures released by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) on 6 January showed a total of 1,049,831 vehicles were sold across Australia in 2021, representing a 14.5% increase on 2020.
Toyota was once again the best-selling brand with 223,642 vehicles sold resulting in 21.3% market share.
That was comfortably ahead of second-placed Mazda with 101,119 vehicles sold, for 9.6% market share.
The battle for third, fourth and fifth was much tighter, with Hyundai narrowly beating Ford to secure the bronze medal, with 72,872 vehicles sold, for 6.9% share, versus the Blue Oval’s 71,380 vehicles and 6.8% share.
Fifth place went to Hyundai’s Korean stablemate Kia, with 67,964 sales and 6.5% market share.The result was Toyota's third-highest total on record and substantially higher than the 204,801 vehicles its dealers sold in 2020, and the 205,766 delivered in 2019.
The company has now been overall Australian market leader every year since 2003 and boasts an unbroken 43-year run as leader in commercial vehicles sales, dating back to 1979.
Toyota’s Vice-President Sales, Marketing & Franchise Operations Sean Hanley said while the results were remarkable in an Australian market that was one of the most competitive in the world, Toyota continued to respect the competition and never took its position for granted.
The Ford Ranger 4x4 ute finished the year as Australia’s most popular vehicle in the most popular category, notching up 45,986 sales to edge out its nemesis the Toyota HiLux on 39,587 sales.
However, the HiLux remained the country’s best-selling nameplate overall, thanks to its dominance of the 4x2 ute category where its 13,214 sales eclipsed the second-placed Isuzu D-Max (6488) and the third-placed Ford Ranger (4293), giving it the unassailable overall sales mantle of 52,801 sales.
Toyota Australia’s bosses in Nagoya, Japan, probably won’t be too concerned about the individual segment loss to Ford’s Ranger 4x4, given that the RAV4 claimed the title of Australia's best-selling SUV with 35,751 sales, Corolla was the nation's best-selling passenger vehicle (28,768 sales) and combined LandCruiser sales – made up of Prado, 70 Series, 200 Series and 300 Series – were the biggest yet at 47,932 sales.
Toyota also continued to power ahead with hybrid vehicle sales, with a record 65,491 hybrid-electric vehicle sales across its model range representing a record 29.3 per cent of its total model mix.
FCAI Chief Executive Tony Weber that in the context of pandemic restrictions limiting access to dealerships and international supply issues, the new vehicle market remained positive.
“Despite the pandemic restricting access to showrooms in 2021, Australian consumers found ways to purchase new vehicles and did so in solid numbers,” Mr Weber said.
“The global shortage of microprocessors, compounded by the pandemic, had an impact on the number of cars sold throughout Australia.
“Automotive manufacturers are continuing to work to strengthen supply chains in 2022.”
Battery electric vehicles also saw a strong increase in sales of 191.1% on 2020 figures, although the FCAI seemed at pains to point out the number was still just 0.49 per cent share of the total market.
“In this context, we must recognise the policy objective should be to lower our CO2 emissions rather than meeting sales targets of particular types of technology,” Mr Weber said.
“The FCAI maintains the need for national leadership in the form of a technology agnostic and achievable emissions reduction target.”
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