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- There were 1,062,867 new vehicles sold in Australia 2019
- New car sales in Australia dropped 8% down from 2018, making it the lowest since 2011
- Toyota was the top-selling car brand in 2019, with 205,766 total sales
- SUVs accounted for 45.5% of new car sales in 2019
New car sales
From 2011 through to 2019 a total of 10.330 million new cars were sold in Australia. On average, the new car market has seen year on year growth from 2011 onwards, however from 2017 to 2019 a decline in sales numbers was observed for the first time since 2014. As of December 2019, there was a decrease of 90,000 vehicle sales compared to December 2018, equating to 131 less vehicles sold per day.1
It is anticipated that new car sales will continue to decline. A new report shows that the number of Australians planning to buy a new vehicle in the next four years is down 19.1% on a similar report released the previous year1 around car buying intentions in Australia. The chief executive of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries in Australia attributed the decline in sales to a tougher economy, a slowing house market, the drought and a tightening of money lending. One study10 suggests that for every 10 per cent drop in houses a corresponding 10 per cent drop in car sales could be expected, given that people will have less equity in their homes to refinance against.
Types of passenger vehicles sold by type
Types of commercial vehicles sold by type
SUVs, or Sports Utility Vehicles, were the top selling type of vehicle in Australia in 2019, capturing 45.5% of the total sales. Up until 2017, passenger vehicles had been the dominant vehicle type sold in Australia for over 15 years. From 2017 onwards, SUV sales have been outstripping passenger vehicle sales, with passenger vehicles sales making up less than a third (29.7%) of total new car sales in 2019.
Overall, passenger vehicles sales were down 16.5% on the same month of the previous year, the Light Commercial Vehicle Market was down by 5.2% and the Heavy Commercial Vehicle Market was down 8.3% on the previous year, demonstrating an overall slump in all vehicle types.2
Top 10 selling car brands in Australia 2019
Toyota has taken out the number one spot as brand leader for the 17th year in a row making up 19.4% of total new car sales for 2019. The second highest selling brand, Mazda, made up only 9.2% of the total new car sales, nearly half of the total Toyota sales, demonstrating the monopoly Toyota has over the Australia car market.
Holden recorded only 43,176 new car sales in 2019, down 28.9% on the previous year as a result of the halt in production in 2017. This decline will only continue as the last remaining stock is cleared out with no new models to come.3
Top 10 selling new cars in Australia 2019
|Rank||Make and model||Number of cars sold|
Toyota had 2 out of 3 of the top 10 bestselling cars in Australia in 2019, with the Toyota Hilux performing top of the charts with 47,649, making it the top-selling car for the fourth year in a row.
Number of passenger vehicles sold by state4
New South Wales saw the most new car sales in Australia with 33.5% of all sales. Given that New South Wales is home to 31.9% of the population, on average, they are buying more cars than other states with 50.4 new car sales per 1,000 people. The average age of motor vehicles in New South Wales is 9.5 years, below the Australian average of 10.1 years.
Victoria was second in the most amount of new car sales with 28.4% of all new car sales. The population of Victoria makes up 25.9% of the total Australian population, meaning they too bought more cars on average with 53.7 new car sales per 1,000 people. The average age of motor vehicles in Victoria is 10.1 years, the Australian average.
Queensland had the third highest car sales in Australia with 19.6% of all new car sales. The population of Queensland makes up 20.1% of the total Australian population and saw below average sales per capita, with 46.9 new car sales per 1,000 people. The average age of motor vehicles in Queensland is 9.9 years, below the Australian average.
South Australia had 6.1% of new car sales in Australia and makes up 6.9% of the Australian population. Per capita, South Australia had 42.2 new car sales per 1,000 people, well below the Australian average. The average age of motor vehicles in South Australia is 11.5 years, above the Australian average of 10.1.
Western Australia had 8.3% of the total new car sales in Australia and makes up 10.4% of the total Australian population. Western Australia had 36.7 new car sales per 1,000 people, the lowest new car sales per capita in Australia. The average age of motor vehicles in Western Australia is 11 years, above the Australian average.
Tasmania had 1.7% of new car sales of the total sales in Australia and makes up 2.1% of the total population of Australia. Tasmania bought less cars on average with 38 new car sales per 1,000 people. The average age of motor vehicles in Tasmania is 12.8 years, well above the Australian average.
The Northern Territory had the least new car sales in Australia, the sales making up only 0.9% of the total new car sales in Australia. The Northern Territory is home to just 1% of the total Australian population, and had 43.5 new car sales per 1,000 people. The average age of motor vehicles in the Northern Territory is 9.4 years, the lowest age in Australia.
The Australian Capital Territory had 1.5% of the total new car sales in Australia and makes up only 1.7% of the total Australian population. Per capita, The Australian Capital Territory had 45.6 new car sales per 1,000 people. The average age of motor vehicles in the Australian Capital Territory is 9.4 years, the lowest age in Australia.9
Number of passenger vehicles sold by month5
July saw the most car sales for the year, capturing 100,027 sales or 8.4% of the total new car sales for 2018. June saw the second highest sales for 2018 with 99,925 sales. This is one of the busiest times for purchasing a new car as a result of the end of the financial year and tax return time.
The months with the least amount of sales were January and February with 96,747 and 96,915 sales respectively. Decreases in sales around this time of year are generally attributed to the post Christmas and holiday slump.9
Used car sales6
Australia does not currently track used car sales in the same fashion as new car sales. Manheim released a report4 in 2015 that estimated that the number of used car sales in Australia to be around 3 million units per year.
In 2019, hybrid petrol-electric cars captured 30,641 sales. 2925 units of electric cars and plug-ins were sold. Unfortunately, Tesla do not release their official sales number making it hard to predict just how many Tesla cars are sold in Australia and the combined total of electric car sales.
Interest and intention to purchase hybrid vehicle has spiked over the last year, with 12.7% of individuals considering a hybrid engine in the next four years as opposed to 10.1% in 2019.7
International comparison (cars per capita in 2018, per 1000 people)8
Australia has one of the highest rates of cars per capita in the world. Given our relatively small population of 25.18 million people, we have 19.2 million registered vehicles, meaning we have 776 vehicles per 1000 people7.
While countries like China might have significantly higher raw counts of vehicles, with over 300 million registered vehicles, when you take into account their population of 1.3 billion people, their cars per capita is much lower at just 219 cars per 1000 people8.