Australia has posted its third new car sales record in four years with 1,178,133 new passenger cars, SUVs and commercial vehicles sold in 2016, an increase of 2 per cent on the 2015 calendar year record.
Vehicle sales in December totalled 98,763, slightly down (0.9 per cent) on December 2015.
The 2016 record year also marked a continued shift in buyer preference and market dynamics with a light commercial vehicle, the Toyota Hilux, topping the national vehicle sales charts over a 12-month period for the first time in Australian automotive history.
Releasing the 2016 full-year sales results, FCAI Chief Executive Tony Weber said the past decade had seen a remarkable change in the traditional composition of the Australian vehicle market as evidenced by the success of the Hilux as the nation’s top-selling vehicle in 2016, and the ever-growing strength of Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) sales.
“Calendar year 2016 marks the seventh year in a row that the Australian new car market has topped 1 million sales, and this result posts the industry’s third record in four years,” Mr Weber said.
“It is an intriguing and exciting time for industry watchers as there’s little doubt we are observing a significant and dynamic transition in consumer preference. While buyer demand for traditional passenger cars remains healthy, it’s clear consumers are gradually transitioning into other segments.
“The growth, as was witnessed in 2016 and appears certain to continue in 2017, is in SUVs and light commercial vehicles, particularly dual cab utilities.
“New models with significant performance and comfort attributes, combined with the existing vehicle mix, continued to make Australia one of the most competitive new car markets in the world.
“It’s this level of competition, and the diversity of more than 400 models on offer, which drives value for the Australian consumer.
“This variety of choice and value, combined with 24 quarters of national economic growth and low interest rates has created a confluence of positive factors to encourage motor vehicle sales.”
Mr Weber said SUV sales, in particular, continued to grow in 2016 with that vehicle type now accounting for 37.4 per cent of the market, up from 35.4 per cent in 2015.
Light commercial vehicles held 18.5 per cent of the market in 2016, up from 17.2 per cent in 2015.
Among the states and territories, those that experienced sales growth during 2016 compared with 2015 were New South Wales (+4.4%), Victoria (+3.4%), South Australia (+3.9%), ACT (+4.3%), Northern Territory (+2%) and Tasmania (+0.3%). The two states to decline were Western Australia (-5.6%) and Queensland (-1.1%).
Business sales increased by 13 per cent compared with 2015, and rental sales rose 6 per cent. Private sales declined 5.8 per cent and Government purchases by 1.4 per cent.
For calendar year 2016, Toyota led the market with 17.8 per cent, followed by Mazda with 10 per cent, Hyundai (8.6 per cent), Holden (8 per cent) and Ford (6.9).
Australia’s top-selling vehicle for 2016 was the Toyota Hilux with 42,104 sales. This was followed by the Toyota Corolla with 40,330 sales, The Hyundai i30 (37,772), Ford Ranger (36,934) and Mazda3 (36,107).
The December 2016 market saw Toyota remain the top-selling brand with 20.2 per cent. Mazda was in second place with 9.9 per cent, Holden (7.8 per cent), Hyundai (7.1 per cent) and Mitsubishi (6.8 per cent).
Australia’s best-selling vehicle in December was the Toyota Camry with 4850 sales. It was followed by the Toyota Hilux with 4,086, the Ford Ranger (3,367), Mazda3 (3,141) and the Toyota Corolla (2,927).