Interest rate hikes have failed to deter new car buyers, with the market showing positive signs last month, even though supply chain constraints and logistical bottlenecks remain an active problem.
One area that is showing strong signs for the future, however, is the battery electric segment, where vehicles from this corner of the market continue to increase, with a trend starting to suggest that more and more Australians are committed to vehicles that will support the transition to more sustainable forms of travel.
Total new car sales
New car sales improved by 12.3% in September to reach 93,555 vehicles, buoyed by a record market share for electric vehicles. Last month’s result, the third month in a row of positive growth, brought the total year-to-date sales across the market to 811,130, which is only 0.6% behind the comparable period last year.
Australians have seen six months of interest rate hikes in a row, so the fact that sales are still on the up suggests that the industry supply chain could be starting to improve, whereby buyers may be receiving deliveries from orders placed earlier in the year.
Last month was also the best September result in four years, but the result should be read in context, because it is 4% lower than the pre-pandemic five-year average. It is also around 9% lower than the all-time September figure of 102,696 sales, which occurred back in 2016.
The most vehicles were sold in New South Wales, with 28,945 units registered, followed by Victoria, 25,367 units, and Queensland, 20,364 units.
New car sales by segment
Passenger vehicle sales took a backwards step last month, falling from a market share of 21% in August to just 18.7% in September. That was largely due to a surge in light commercial vehicle sales, even though Tesla’s deliveries once again favoured what should have been a stronger result for the passenger vehicle segment.
The top segments by market share were: medium SUVs (19.6%); 4x4 utes (18.0%); large SUVs (13.0%); small SUVs (12.9%); small cars (8.6%).
As we touched on earlier, electric vehicles set a new market share record, with 7,247 sales resulting in a market share of 7.7% of all new vehicles sold last month. Year-to-date, electric vehicle sales reached 21,771 units, which is 117% higher than the same result in 2021. Overall market share of battery electric vehicles is still at 2.7%, but the figures are heading in the right direction as far as the transition is concerned.
Thanks to Tesla’s strong result, China, where the company produces vehicles for the Australian market, became the third largest supplier of new cars to Australia last month. With 14,889 exports, it topped regions like South Korea, which exported 14,443 units.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of our review into new car sales for September 2022, covering vehicle makes and models.