Australian new car buyers have taken delivery of more than 1 million cars in 2023.
Stronger supply of new cars after years of delivery delays caused by COVID has driven five all-time sales records in the past six months, with Australia’s year-to-date tally for new car deliveries sitting on 1,006,095 as of October 31 according to VFACTS data.
The all-time record for Australian new car deliveries is 1,189,116, set in 2017.
Toyota remains the best-selling brand in Australia with 174,957 cars delivered to date, followed by Mazda (84,536) and Ford (53,298).
“The Australian market has demonstrated incredible strength and vitality throughout 2023, culminating in Australia reaching one million sales in October for the first time,” Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) chief executive Tony Weber said.
“After some challenging years through COVID, this milestone speaks to the range of vehicles available to consumers, affirming Australia’s position as one of the world’s most dynamic and competitive markets. It also reflects vastly improved supply chains.”
That smooth sailing isn’t necessarily expected to last, however. VFACTS data counts new car deliveries, not sales, which means the huge numbers we’ve seen since the start of 2023 are more reflective of historical demand being filled than they are of current demand.
Toyota vice president of sales and marketing Sean Hanley recently told CarExpert the sales charts are about how many cars you can get off boats and into customer hands in 2023, rather than how many sales dealers are making.
“While the sales results are real, they are not necessarily reflective of the demand in the market of that given month. They’re only reflective of what any OEM, whatever brand, can actually deliver,” Mr Hanley said.
His thoughts were echoed by Hyundai Australia boss John Kett, who told CarExpert the market growth in 2023 is “impressive”, but said “a lot of it is carryover from last year”.
With the Australian new car market this year on track to top 1.2 million deliveries for the first time, both Mr Hanley and Mr Kett said demand has softening since the start of 2023.
“We’ve been seeing it [softening] from about March this year,” said Mr Hanley.