New record for March vehicle sales in Australia

Records for new vehicle sales continue to be broken with the March result of 109,647 surpassing the previous record of 106,988 achieved in 2018.

Additionally, the January to March result of 304,452 sales represents the best-ever first quarter for new vehicle sales, an increase of 13.2 per cent on the first quarter in 2023.

FCAI Chief Executive, Tony Weber, said it is remarkable that nine of the past 12 months achieved record sales results. Since April 2023, the industry delivered 1,252,230 new vehicles to the market.

“This is a terrific result for the sector, however, all car brands are well aware that these results cannot be taken for granted,” said Weber.  “We need to factor in the ongoing cost of living pressures and the challenges for industry and consumers that will emerge with the introduction of the New Vehicle Efficiency Standard (NVES) in less than nine months.”

The SUV segment accounted for 58.9 per cent of sales while the Passenger segment was down to 16.1 per cent compared with 2023 at 17.7 per cent.  The Light Commercial segment fell to 21.0 per cent from 22.6 per cent.

Battery electric vehicles made up 9.5 per cent of new vehicle sales, up from 6.8 per cent in March 2023.  Hybrid and plug-in hybrid sales increased compared with March 2023, recording a 14 per cent share compared with six per cent in 2023. Sales of electrified vehicles in March made up 23.5 per cent of the total market, demonstrating the continuing evolution of technology and increasing consumer preference in response to the challenges of decarbonisation.

“A fuel efficiency standard is long overdue. However, we remain concerned at the speed and magnitude of the change for both manufacturers and more importantly, consumers,” said Weber.

“The car makers will respond, however it will take time to develop new products, especially in the large SUV and Light Commercial segments, that meet expectations in terms of price, performance and emissions, noting these vehicles make up more than one third of new vehicle sales in Australia.

“We look forward to working with the government regarding the administration of the proposed NVES and the development of critical supporting activities such as the development of an effective national recharging network for electric vehicles.”

Toyota led the market with sales of 18,961, followed by Ford (8,776), Mazda (8,246), Mitsubishi (7,866) and Kia (7,070).

The Ford Ranger was Australia’s top selling vehicle with sales of 5,661, followed by the Toyota RAV4 (5,070), Tesla Model Y (4,379), Toyota HiLux (3,995) and Mitsubishi Outlander (2,764).

Sales across every state and territory increased compared with March 2023 except for Tasmania, which recorded a small decrease of 0.6 per cent (1,610).  Sales in the Australian Capital Territory were up by 0.5 per cent (1,584); New South Wales 11.7 per cent (33,808); Queensland 5.9 per cent (23,550); South Australia 6.9 per cent (6,992); Victoria 24.9 per cent (30,099); Western Australia 9.3 per cent (11,074) and Northern Territory 19.8 per cent (930).

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