Power move: Tesla Model 3 tops national passenger car sales in August

Craig Duff

Posted September 15, 2022

Recent sales figures show Tesla’s Model 3 was the top-selling passenger car and the fourth best-selling vehicle in Australia in August, with 3,397 vehicles going to new owners.

VFACTS data released by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), shows Tesla delivered 3397 vehicles last month, placing it seventh in terms of total car manufacturer registrations.

Of those, 2,380 were Model 3 passenger cars, trailing only the Toyota HiLux (6,214 sales), Ford Ranger (4,497) and Toyota RAV4 (2,482) for the month. The Tesla Model Y mid-sized SUV accounted for 1017 registrations.

The spike in sales is a result of Tesla’s Chinese factory ramping up production and the arrival of seven ships in the past month bearing Tesla products.

Tesla sales in Australia tend to spike and dive according to the shipping schedule, with the company selling every car it can land, meaning there is no stock sitting in local warehouses waiting for prospective owners.

Tesla’s Giga Shanghai factory was shuttered earlier this year, initially in response to a COVID-19 lockdown and then in July to upgrade the Model 3 and Model Y production lines.

That impact was felt in Australia, with Tesla sales amounting to four in July and 172 in June. So far this year the company has sold 8,054 vehicles, placing it 18th overall.

That’s still a significant figure for a company that only sells two vehicles (prices for the Model S and Model X don't display on the Australian website).

The first batches of the Tesla Model Y saw 1017 of the medium SUVs arrive on our shores.

Tesla's first batch of Model Y SUVs saw 1017 land in Australia in August.

Record EV sales

FCAI chief executive Tony Weber said electric vehicle sales in August accounted for 4.4 per cent of the overall market.

“This is the highest market share for pure battery electric vehicles ever recorded in a single month in Australia,” Weber noted.

“Year-to-date EV sales are 2 per cent of the market, hybrids are 7.6 per cent and plug in hybrid vehicles are 0.6 per cent.

“Combined electrified vehicles are now just over 10 per cent of total sales in 2022.”

Courtesy of the Tesla Model 3’s figures, battery electric vehicles outsold hybrids and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) in the combined passenger car ranks by 2,668 to 2,303.

Hybrids are the preferred option in the SUV segments (largely due to the scarcity of battery-electric options), with 4,604 registrations compared to 1,558 for battery electric vehicles and 497 PHEVs.

Toyota is still the dominant car company in Australia. August sales of 20,616 vehicles represented 21.6 per cent of the total market.

Mazda was a distant second with 8,824 registrations last month, accounting for 9.3 per cent of new car sales, followed by Kia with 6,780, Hyundai with 6,643 and Mitsubishi with 6,380.

Four of the top-10 models were utes, reflecting the fact 4x2 and 4x4 utes are the most popular segment in the country. Registrations of 19,969 vehicles were more than 2800 up on mid-sized SUVs.

Total new car registrations are 717,575 this year, down from 732,828 this time in 2021.


Learn how JET Charge makes EV charging at home easy and convenient

Wait-times climbing

The decrease can be attributed to the ongoing supply constraints arising from the global semiconductor shortage and COVID-19-realted delays. And the problem is getting worse, not better.

Data from the PriceMyCar website shows the average wait time for a new car in Australia is a staggering 159 days - more than five months.  That is two months longer than the average delay in August 2021.

Lexus, Isuzu and Toyota are the worst-affected brands, while Mercedes-Benz, Renault and MG are reported to have the shortest delays.

The top end of town is largely immune from the supply bottlenecks. Ferrari sales of 144 to date in 2022 are up by 29 on this time in 2021. Lamborghini sales are on a par, Porsche’s 3769 registrations are up by more than 600 over the corresponding period last year and Rolls Royce’s 40 sales are a 21 per cent increase year-on-year.


The information provided is general advice only. Before making any decisions please consider your own circumstances and the Product Disclosure Statement and Target Market Determinations. For copies, visit racv.com.au. As distributor, RACV Insurance Services Pty Ltd AFS Licence No. 230039 receives commission for each policy sold or renewed. Product(s) issued by Insurance Manufacturers of Australia ABN 93 004 208 084 AFS Licence No. 227678.