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January 2022 New Car Sales Review - Part 1

Hopes of improvement in the automotive industry’s supply chain have been dashed early in the new year, with 2022 looking to be another year where auto-makers struggle with bottlenecks and componentry shortfalls. 

With the start of 2022 already looking shaky, FCAi CEO Tony Weber made reference to the issues: “The microprocessor shortage and the pandemic’s impact on supply chains continues into 2022. This is an issue impacting markets all over the globe…manufacturers are continuing to work hard to address supply chain and production issues. We are also experiencing bottlenecks in having vehicles processed from some Australian ports”. While the comments paint a concerning picture, there is still a robust level of consumer interest across the market, but something that manufacturers are unable to fulfil.

Total new car sales

Sales in January were their third-lowest for the month since 2009, with just 75,863 units registered as sold. 

Compared with the same month last year where 79,666 cars were sold, last month’s sales were down by 4.8%, which is quite a drop in the grand scheme of things given the precarious state of the market a year ago. The result was ahead of the 71,731 recorded just before the pandemic hit our shores, but well down on the five-year average prior to the pandemic.

In terms of action by geography, Tasmania was the only state or territory to buck the negative trend. It recorded sales growth of 15.4%. On the other hand, a 9.8% fall in sales across New South Wales dragged on the overall result most. Victoria and Queensland saw a modest decline at just 1.6% and 1.3% respectively.

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New car sales by segment

When combining 4x4 and 4x4 models, utes took out the top spot as the most popular type of vehicle. However, more broadly, when including all body types of SUVs, the category made up 52.2% market share versus 24.1% for commercial utes and vans. Passenger vehicles represented 20.7% of sales last month.

Breaking down the sub-categories, these were the top segments by market share: Medium SUVs (19.6%); 4×4 Utes (18.0%); Small SUVs: (14.3%); Large SUVs: (11.7%); and Small Cars: (8.7%).

In one of the bright signs from last month’s data, sales to rental fleets were up 11.9%. That’s more or less where the good news ended, however, with a dip in consumer sentiment leading to a 2% decline in sales among private buyers, a 12% fall in sales among business fleets, and sales to government fleets easing by 2.4%.


Stay tuned for Part 2 of our review into new car sales for January 2022, covering vehicle makes and models.

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