Supply issues continue to represent the biggest issue facing the Australian new car market. In another sign of how drastic the issue is, sales took a backwards step last month as demand goes unfulfilled.
Chief Executive of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries Tony Weber summed this up: “We know this [result] is not a reflection on the demand for new vehicles in the marketplace. This is a reflection on the global automotive industry’s ability to supply vehicles to not only the Australian market, but all markets throughout the world.”
A shortage in critical components like semiconductors has hamstrung the industry, while the impact of COVID-19, the war in Ukraine, as well as China’s ongoing lockdowns have all hurt global supply chains, and production has remained below capacity.
Total new car sales
During April, new car sales slumped by 12.2% compared with the same month last year. In total, there were 81,065 vehicles recorded as sold last month.
The impact was felt around the country, with sales on the slide across every single state and territory. Sales were hit hardest in Western Australia, totalling just 7,896, some 20.4% below the result from 12 months ago. The result out of New South Wales was also concerning, with sales falling 12.7% to 25,432 units. Victoria was only marginally better, with sales decreasing 11% to 21,339 units.
Year-to-date, new car sales across Australia stand at 343,501 units, which is 3.5% lower than the prior corresponding period.
Although there were expectations the market might see an improvement by the middle of the year, industry-wide data from across the globe suggests the challenges are here to stay.
New car sales by segment
With 42,370 sales recorded last month, SUVs featured atop the list of the most-popular car types with a market share of 52.3%. Next in line was the light commercial segment, in no small part thanks to the popularity of utes. There were 19,636 light commercial vehicles sold in April, equivalent to a market share of 24.2%. Passenger cars, once the nation’s most-loved segment, could only muster up a sales total of 15,444 units, or 19.1% market share.
In terms of the most-popular subcategories, the results were as follows: Medium SUVs (20.1%); 4×4 Utes (18.6%); Large SUVs: (13.4%); Small SUVs: (12.6%); and Small Cars: (8.1%). There was growth across every category compared with March indicating the level of concentration occurring here.
There was a decrease in sales across each buyer type. Private buyer sales were down 8.9% (43,237 total), business fleet sales fell 17.6% (27,157), rental fleet sales nosedived 20.4% (4,976) and government fleet sales decreased 9.8% (2,080).
In what was a surprising result, hybrid sales fell 17.2% compared with the same time last year. That follows a period where the segment has been growing steadily, putting pressure on petrol and diesel-powered vehicles.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of our review into new car sales for April 2022, covering vehicle makes and models.