Tesla, Ford, Nissan, Volkswagen and GWM are the brands that accrued more sales last year, relative to 2022, than any other car brands in Australia.

    Australian new car sales data for 2023 – covered in our full wrap here – shows over 1.2 million cars were sold, climbing 12.5 per cent year-on-year, and beating the previous all-time record set in 2017.

    Here we expand on this by looking at the biggest winners, by finding out which five brands gained the most sales year-on-year.

    We’re focusing on total sales changes rather than percentage changes as the latter tend to skew towards less mainstream brands.

    The top five brands if we were using year-on-year percentage changes would technically be Chery as it didn’t sell any cars in 2022, followed by BYD (488.6 per cent), Cupra (238.9 per cent), Lotus (195.2 per cent), and Tesla (135.4 per cent).


    Tesla – up 26,522 units

    Despite only having a two-car line-up in Australia, Tesla managed to become the biggest winner in terms of total sales growth year-on-year in 2023.

    The US electric vehicle (EV) brand sold a total of 46,116 vehicles in Australia during 2023, up 135.4 per cent from the previous year.

    Tesla’s top performer was the Model Y electric SUV with 28,769 sales, up 230 per cent year-on-year. The Model Y is also on track to be the best-selling car globally last year.

    17,347 examples of the Tesla Model 3 electric sedan were also sold during 2023, which is up 59.5 per cent year-on-year. Deliveries of new facelifted models have just commenced in Australia.


    Ford – up 21,172 units

    Ford has reclaimed the title of best-selling car in Australia for the first time since 1995 with the Ranger ute. The brand is also the second biggest winner in terms of total year-on-year sales growth in 2023.

    Doing the heavy lifting for the Blue Oval in Australia was the Ranger 4×4 ute with a total of 58,261 sales during 2023, up 35.1 per cent from the previous year.

    The Everest was also a top performer for Ford with a total of 15,071 examples sold during 2023, up 46.1 per cent year-on-year.

    Other Ford vehicles that sold better during 2023 include the Transit Custom (2843 sales, up 66.4 per cent), Ranger 4×2 (5095 sales, up 17.1 per cent), Escape (2336 sales, up 7.2 per cent), and Fiesta (140 sales, up 44.3 per cent). The latter two have both been discontinued locally.

    It hasn’t all been positive for Ford however, with a number of vehicles selling worse last than they did during 2022. These include the Mustang (1475 sales, down 21.8 per cent), Puma (2027 sales, down 15.8 per cent) and the discontinued Focus (39 sales, down 75.8 per cent), as well as the Transit Heavy (317 sales, down 16.6 per cent).

    The Blue Oval also introduced the locally remanufactured F-150 pickup, as well as the all-electric Mustang Mach-E crossover in Australia during the latter stages of 2023. 145 examples of the F-150 and 51 examples of the Mustang Mach-E were sold locally last year.


    Nissan – up 12,885 units

    Although Nissan was 2022’s biggest loser in terms of sales declines, it bounced back in 2023.

    This is thanks in part to new-generation versions of the Qashqai, X-Trail and Pathfinder SUVs being on sale for the entirety of 2023, the new locally fettled Patrol Warrior arriving, and the introduction of the company’s e-Power hybrid powertrain in the X-Trail locally.

    Nissan’s best performer in 2023 was the X-Trail with 12,861 examples sold, up 61.9 per cent year-on-year. This was followed by the Patrol (7812 units, up 36.5 per cent), Navara 4×4 (7510 units, down 15.0 per cent), Qashqai (6614 units, up 1120 per cent), and Pathfinder (1401 units, up 645.2 per cent).

    Other Nissan vehicles that grew in terms of sales during 2023 year-on-year included the Z (449 units, up 248.1 per cent), Juke (1256 units, up 15.9 per cent), and the Leaf (484 units, up 46.2 per cent).


    Volkswagen – up 11,355 units

    Volkswagen was just outside the top 10 best-selling brands in 2023, though it did amass a total of 43,821 sales, which is up 41.6 per cent year-on-year.

    The German brand’s best-selling car locally during 2023 was the T-Roc with a total of 8943 sold, up 146.6 per cent year-on-year.

    This was followed by the Tiguan (7298 units, up 174.6 per cent), Amarok 4×4 (6626 units, up 46.8 per cent), T-Cross (5762 units, up 12.0 per cent), and Tiguan Allspace (4543 units, up 17.2 per cent).

    A few vehicles sold worse last year than they did during 2022. These include the Polo (928 units, down 39.9 per cent), Transporter (971 units, down 28.7 per cent), Touareg (921 units, down 24.6 per cent) and now-discontinued Passat (677 units, down 10.8 per cent).


    GWM – up 10,325 units

    GWM was the 13th best-selling brand in Australia during 2023, with a total of 36,397 vehicles sold, which is up 45.3 per cent year-on-year. It was bolstered by the arrivals of the the Tank 300 and Ora.

    The Chinese carmaker’s best-selling car locally last year was the Haval Jolion with a total of 11,252 examples sold, which is up 36.9 per cent year-on-year.

    This was followed by the Ute 4×4 (9363 units, up 23.9 per cent), Haval H6 (8971 units, up 28.0 per cent), and Haval H6 GT (4100, up 106.2 per cent).

    There were no GWM vehicles currently on sale that sold worse in 2023 than it did in 2022.

    MORE: VFACTS 2023: All-time Australian sales record, Ford Ranger tops charts

    Jack Quick

    Jack Quick is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne. Jack studied journalism and photography at Deakin University in Burwood, and previously represented the university in dance nationally. In his spare time, he loves to pump Charli XCX and play a bit of Grand Theft Auto. He’s also the proud owner of a blue, manual 2020 Suzuki Jimny.

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