VFACTS March 2022: New car sales soar in March, Toyota HiLux hits record, Ford Ranger brakes

New car sales in Australia are showing signs of recovery for the second straight month – after four straight months – but dealers are still grappling with chronic stock shortages and delivery delays.

New motor vehicle shipments increased in March for the second month in a row – after four months of slowing – but waiting times for popular models continued to be extended from three to 12 months.

Official new car sales data for March 2022 showed 101,233 new motor vehicles were reported to be sold — March’s strongest result in four years but down 5.4 percent from the March record set in 2018, two years before the global pandemic.

The modest sales jump of 1.2 percent compared with the same month a year earlier was driven by dealers filling orders for new vehicles placed over the past year.

The lead time for most new cars remains anywhere from three to 12 months, and dealers and car companies are now providing broader estimates to avoid customer disappointment.

Production disruptions, combined with delivery constraints – there are now an average of four car carriers docking in Australia each week instead of eight – continue to shorten waiting times.

In many cases, car companies stop providing estimated delivery times because the information can quickly become out of date.

Instead, car dealers wait until the vehicle arrives at their showroom before informing the customer of the pick-up date.

The lack of transparency – or “forward visibility,” as the industry describes it – has frustrated customers and dealers alike.

Customers want to know when their new car is due; dealers are not paid until the vehicle is delivered.

“This is a unique time in which supply rather than demand determines the size of the market,” Tony Weber, chief executive of the Federal Chamber of the Automotive Industry, said in a media statement.

“This is because manufacturers are recovering from pandemic-related shutdowns, and the ongoing global (semiconductor) shortage.”

Demand for new cars remains strong, but “manufacturers are working hard to match this demand with supply.”

Meanwhile, there has been a major breakdown at the top of the sales chart.

The Ford Ranger slipped outside the Top Three for the second month in a row, as Ford sold out stock of runout models ahead of a new generation due in mid-year.

The Toyota HiLux was the direct-selling vehicle for the third month in a row and set record sales in March – with 6324 deliveries, just shy of the all-time record of 6537 set in June 2020.

It is also the all-time high for the 4×4 Toyota HiLux (4,911 versus the previous record 4811 set in June 2020).

The Mitsubishi Triton ute ranks in the Top Four on the sales chart for the third month in a row, after a large number of vehicle shipments arrived.

Indeed, the Mitsubishi Triton posted a record March last month (3808), although that’s slightly off the all-time monthly sales record of 4124 set in June 2014. March is also an all-time record for the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport.

Two passenger cars made it into the Top 10 – the Hyundai i30 and the Toyota Corolla – after only one passenger car appeared in the Top 10 in February 2022 for the first time in history.

All other vehicles in the Top 10 are utes or SUVs.

Demand for electric cars has continued to increase rapidly, up 141 percent over the same month last year – excluding Tesla, which did not provide a monthly breakdown for March of this year compared to last year.

Including Tesla – which now provides sales data to official industry scorers – so far this year 6,752 electric vehicles have reportedly been sold in Australia, or 2.6 per cent of the 262,436 new motor vehicles delivered in the first three months of 2022.

Sales of gasoline-electric hybrid cars – driven largely by market leader Toyota – continue to record records, up 27.6 percent this year with 20,585 reportedly sold in the first three months of 2022.

Hybrid cars now account for about a third of new Toyotas sold in Australia.

Gasoline car sales (135,504) have fallen 11.8 percent – ​​in line with the decline in conventional passenger car sales (down 9.7 percent) – in the first three months of the year.

Reflecting the boom in sales of vehicles, vans and four-wheelers, diesel vehicle shipments (89,114) have outpaced market growth, increasing by 6.5 percent from January to March 2022.

The data below is provided by the Federal Chamber of the Automotive Industry, and was compiled by Drive news journalist William Davis.

10 BEST CARS IN March 2022

Rank Model Volumes March 2022 Change from year to year
1 Toyota HiLux 6324 up 18.9 percent
2 Toyota RAV4 4610 up 30.9 percent
3 Mitsubishi Triton 3808 up 52.8 percent
4 Mazda CX-5 3772 up 24.8 percent
5 Ford Rangers 2960 down 25.7 percent
6 Hyundai i30 2455 down 2.3 percent
7 Isuzu D-Max 2447 up 22.7 percent
8 Toyota Prado 2230 up 84.1 percent
9 Toyota Corolla 1924 down 33.5 percent
10 Mazda CX-30 1829 up 49.3 percent

10 BEST CAR BRANDS IN March 2022

Rank Brand Volumes March 2022 Change from year to year
1 Toyota 21,828 up 2.4 percent
2 Mazda 11.248 up 4.3 percent
3 Mitsubishi 9007 up 40.1 percent
4 Hyundai 6516 down 4.9 percent
5 Kia 6051 up 4.3 percent
6 wade through 4245 down 29.0 percent
7 MG 3962 up 20.0 percent
8 Isuzu 3306 up 4.2 percent
9 Nissan 3168 down 30.5 percent
10 Volkswagen 2832 down 15.7 percent

Passenger cars: Top Three in each segment by March 2022

Micro Kia Picanto (374) Mitsubishi Mirage (122) Fiat 500 (74)
Light < $25k MG 3 (1528) Suzuki Baleno (958) Mazda 2 (328)
Light > $25k Audi A1 (81) small (71) Citroen C3 (16)
Small < $40k Hyundai i30 (2455) Toyota Corolla (1924) Kia Cerato (1238)
Small > $40k Mercedes–Benz A-Class (365) Audi A3 (141) BMW 1 Series (109)
Medium < $60k Toyota Camry (920) Skoda Octavia (197) Mazda 6 (147)
Medium > $60k BMW 3 Series (335) Mercedes–Benz CLA (203) Mercedes–Benz C-Class (192)
Big < $70k Kia Stinger (236) Amazing Skoda (73)
Big > $70k Porsche Taycan (75) Mercedes–Benz E-Class (47) BMW 5 Series (29)
Big Over < $100k Chrysler 300 (18)
Big Over > $100k Mercedes-Benz S-Class (20) Porsche Panamera (6) BMW 7 Series, Lexus LS (5)
People Movers Kia Carnival (530) Hyundai Staria (233) Honda Odyssey (104)
Sports < $80k Ford Mustang (117) BMW 2 Series coupe/convertible (68) Subaru BRZ (65)
Sports > $80k BMW 4 Series coupe/convertible (73) Mercedes-Benz C-Class coupe/convertible (70) Audi A5 (18)
Sports > $200k Porsche 911 (61) Ferrari Range (20) Bentley Continental (10)

SUV: Top Three in each segment in March 2022

light SUV Mazda CX-3 (931) Hyundai Place (759) Toyota Yaris Cross, Kia Stonic (734)
Small SUV < $40k Mazda CX-30 (1829) MG ZS (1756) Hyundai Kona (1246)
Small SUV > $40k Volvo XC40 (451) Audi Q3 (416) Mercedes-Benz GLA (278)
Medium SUV < $60k Toyota RAV4 (4610) Mazda CX-5 (3772) Mitsubishi Outlander (1619)
Medium SUV > $60k Mercedes-Benz GLC (635) Lexus NX (474) Volvo XC60 (451)
Big SUV < $70k Toyota Prado (2230) Mitsubishi Pajero Sport (1669) Subaru Outback (1187)
Large SUV > $70k Range Rover Sport (267) BMW X5 (220) Land Rover Defenders (200)
Top Big SUV < $100k Nissan Patrol Car (918) Toyota Land Cruiser Cart (844)
Top Big SUV > $100k BMW X7 (68) Mercedes-Benz GLS (46) Audi Q8 (27)

Utes and vans: Top Three in each segment in March 2022

Vans < 2.5t Renault Kangoo (185) Volkswagen Caddy (80) Peugeot Partners (35)
Van 2.5t-3.5t Toyota HiAce Van (802) Hyundai Staria Load (304) LDV G10/G10+ (285)
4×2 Utes Toyota HiLux 4×2 (1413) Isuzu D-Max 4×2 (744) Mazda BT-50 (422)
4×4 Utes Toyota HiLux 4×4 (4911) Mitsubishi Triton 4×4 (3446) Ford Ranger 4×4 (2443)

Joshua Dowling has been an automotive journalist for more than 20 years, spending most of his time working for The Sydney Morning Herald (as an automotive editor and an early member of the Drive team) and News Corp Australia. He joined CarAdvice/Drive in late 2018, and has been a World Car of the Year judge for 10 years.

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