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October 2022 New Car Sales Review - Part 1

The sales figures are starting to look promising for the new car market, and the days of ongoing declines could be a distant memory. At least that’s what an optimist might make of the new car sales data from October, which delivered another strong result.

Chief Executive of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries Tony Weber points out that supply chain challenges are receding within the industry: “This October figure is a positive sign that supply chains are recovering and consistency is returning to the marketplace”. However, Mr Weber also acknowledged the challenges that remain ahead, including the transition towards zero-emissions vehicles.

Total new car sales

Last month saw new car sales surge 16.9% versus the prior corresponding period, resulting in a total of 82,299 units being reported as sold. The October result was the best in four years, giving rise to the prospect that better times could be ahead.

On a year-to-date basis, total new car sales reached 898,429 by the end of October, which means that 2022 is now shaping up to be a better year than what we saw in 2021. With that said, the difference is just 0.9%, so the final result will go right down to the wire. In absolute terms, the improvement on a year-to-date basis is 7,639 units.

Compared with historical data, last month’s result fares reasonably well, down just 4.4% against the five-year pre-pandemic average, although that is heavily skewed by the record result witnessed in 2017.

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New car sales by segment

SUVs were the catalyst behind last month’s significant leap in sales, with the category recording 37% growth versus the same time last year. That resulted in a market share in excess of 55%, putting more downwards pressure on passenger vehicle sales. Speaking of which, the passenger vehicle segment hit new lows, down to 15.3% as buyers embrace 4x4s and utes.

Across buyer types, sales to private buyers jumped 27.5% to 47,005 units, business fleet sales advanced 8.2% to 29,373 units, sales to rental fleets increased 15.3% to 4,982 units, and government fleet sales leapt 19.4% to 1,871 new car sales.

Electric vehicles and hybrids  continue their ascent, with the combined category attaining over 11% market share once heavy duty trucks are removed from the sales figures. Just shy of 7,000 electric or hybrid units were sold last month, compared with a touch over 45,000 petrol units, and nearly 29,000 diesel vehicles.


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

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