Victorian new cars sales jump by 5.5 per cent: VFACTS February 2022

The Toyota RAV4 crosses a creek.

Craig Duff

Posted March 03, 2022

The trend for new car sales was pushed into the black - thanks to strong sales figures in Victoria, as supply constraints continue to haunt manufacturers.

Victorian new vehicle sales improved by 5.5 per cent in February, indicating the state, and automotive supply chains, are slowly recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.

A total of 85,340 vehicles were sold in February 2022, according to VFACTS data supplied by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, representing a 1.6 per cent rise over the same period last year.

Victoria accounted for 22,177 of those sales, a jump of 1,150 vehicles over January, despite February having fewer days. Tasmania also posted solid growth, with its 1,561 sales representing a 16.6 per cent improvement over January.

SUVs remain the most popular vehicle type, with 43,472 sales representing almost half of the entire new vehicle market.

In that regard Australia is following the global trend that no-one expects to change and manufacturers are prioritising building hybrid and electric SUVs over conventional passenger cars in a bid to satisfy that demand.

FCAI chief executive Tony Weber says the signs are positive but warns the global market has not yet recovered.

“The consumer demand for new cars in Australia remains strong, and manufacturers are continuing to work hard to get cars into the hands of motorists,” he notes.

Top five utes of February 2022
Top five small SUVs of February 2022
Top five small cars of February 2022
Top five medium SUVs of February 2022
Top five large SUVs of February 2022

Utes still dominate

Toyota’s HiLux ute continues to lead the Australian automotive pack. Sales of 4,803 vehicles put it ahead of its stablemate small SUV, the Toyota RAV4, which saw 4,454 units exit dealerships.

Mitsubishi’s Triton’s February sales tally of 3,811 saw it leapfrog the Ford Ranger into second place on the ute best-selling chart. The Ranger is in run-out mode ahead of the arrival of the new model, which would account for the relatively “poor” sales of 3,455, which still put it in fourth place in terms of overall vehicle sales.

The Toyota Prado took out fifth spot, and gave Toyota three of the top-five vehicles with 2,778 sales.

Given the company is facing a huge bottlenecks in being able to build and deliver cars, it is a testament to the marque’s priority in the global network that Toyota is still able to access that many vehicles.

As a result, Toyota maintained its insurmountable lead at the top of the brand sales. Its sale of 20,886 vehicles dwarfed its nearest competitor Mazda, which managed to shift 8,782 cars.

Mitsubishi finished third in the February tally with 7,813 registrations, ahead of Kia (5,881) and Hyundai (5,649).

Some brands suffering

While the overall message was positive, some players lost ground, either because of supply shortages or because of their pricing/model mix.

Mercedes-Benz was smashed. The prestige brand sold 1,245 cars and SUVs in February, or less than half of which it achieved in the corresponding month last year. The brand’s 3,561 sales in the first two months of this year are 32.3 per cent down on the same period in 2021.

Supply issues hammered the Volkswagen Group brands. Audi sales slid by 37.2 per cent on a year-to-year basis, down to 742 vehicles; Skoda’s 424 sales represented a 49.2 per cent free-fall over February 2021 and VW shifted 1,766 vehicles to be down 41.6 per cent.

Honda sales plummeted by 30 per cent from February last year, with just 1,408 vehicles sold last month.

Nissan didn’t fare any better. Sales of 2820 vehicles in February were down by more than 1000 vehicles, or 26.3 per cent, on the same month last year.


The 2022 Ford Ranger.

The arrival of the 2022 Ford Ranger is expected to propel the Blue Oval as a contender for Australia's most popular vehicle.

Japan leads import race

Toyota’s market dominance ensures Japan continues to be the major source of vehicles for the Australian market.

A total of 31,138 vehicles were built in the country, representing more than a third of all cars sold here.

Thailand was a distant second. The country, which is responsible for the bulk of utes sold here due to a free-trade agreement with Australia, posted sales of 21,086 vehicles Down Under last month, ahead of South Korea with 12,237 sales and China’s tally of 6,357.

The USA rounded out to the top five importers with 2,560 sales.


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