VFACTS February 2022: Are passenger cars dead? Only one inside the Top 10

New-car sales posted their first month in positive territory after four months in decline as the industry filled backorders. However, long wait times and severe stock shortages remain – and conventional passenger vehicles took another hit.

Sales of passenger cars hit a new low last month, with only one example inside a Top 10 sellers list dominated by utes and SUVs.

It is the first time in recorded history that only one passenger car has ranked inside the Top 10 sales charts.

In January 2022 there were just two conventional passenger cars inside the Top 10.

In yet another sign of Australia’s changing taste in motor vehicles, four utes and five SUVs topped the charts in February 2022, as Australians shifted to “getaway” cars after two years of lockdowns during the global pandemic.

Last month, the sole passenger car inside the Top 10 – the Hyundai i30 hatch – only just scraped into 10th place, two places ahead of the Toyota Corolla, which was Australia’s top-selling car for three years running until six years ago.

While most new motor vehicles across most major brands have waiting times of three to 12 months, an influx of arrivals from a number of car companies created an unexpected surge in overall deliveries after four months in a row in decline.

Seven of the Top 10 mainstream car giants posted sales gains, and last month was the best February result in three years – since 2019, before the pandemic.

However, luxury brands such as Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and Volkswagen posted significant declines of between 37 per cent and 56 per cent in an overall market that showed signs of recovery.

According to data released today by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), 85,340 new motor vehicles were reported as sold in February 2022, an increase of 1.6 per cent compared to the same month the prior year.

Among Australia’s eight states and territories, four posted gains and four posted declines compared to the same month last year.

SUVs continued to dominate the market, representing 52.7 per cent of all new motor vehicles reported as sold, ahead of utes and vans (25.4 per cent), and passenger cars (18.4 per cent).

The passenger-car result of 18.4 per cent market share shows the continuing decline in the popularity of conventional hatchbacks, sedans, and wagons – after a record low market share of 18.5 per cent last year.

A little more than a decade ago, in 2010, passenger cars accounted for 58.9 per cent of all new motor vehicles sold in Australia.

The automotive industry says its dealer network is writing plenty of orders but there are still challenges getting cars into customer hands.

“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,” said the CEO of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, Tony Weber.

“Global supply chains for microprocessor units are still some distance from full recovery, so we are pleased to see this small increase on 2021 figures.”

The Toyota HiLux ute – Australia’s top-selling vehicle for the past six years in a row – once again topped the charts.

An influx of arrivals saw the Toyota RAV4 – which currently has a waiting list of up to 12 months – rank in second place.

In a major upset, the Mitsubishi Triton displaced the Ford Ranger for third place in February 2022.

It was a significant victory for the Mitsubishi Triton; it is the first time since the current generation model went on sale in 2015 that it has outsold the Ford Ranger.

The Ford Ranger has been the second-best selling vehicle outright for the past five years in a row, and the top-selling four-wheel-drive over four of the past five years. 

Australia’s top-selling car brand for the past 19 years in a row, Toyota, notched up its equal third-best market share result (24.5 per cent), representing almost one-in-four of all new motor vehicles sold.

Previous market share records for Toyota were set in April 2020 (26.5 per cent), August 2021 (24.6 per cent), and December 2020 (24.5 per cent).

Meanwhile, fellow Japanese manufacturer Mitsubishi seems to be making a welcome return to form after struggling thoughout much of the pandemic.

Mitsubishi ranked third – behind Toyota and Mazda – for the second month in a row.

And Kia finished February in fourth place ahead of its South Korean sibling Hyundai.

Ford slipped to sixth after Ranger entered runout ahead of a new model due mid year.

Chinese brand MG ranked seventh for the second month in a row – after finishing last year in ninth place – ahead of Japanese badges Subaru, Nissan, and Isuzu. 

Data below supplied by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, and compiled by Drive news journalist William Davis.

TOP 10 CARS IN February 2022

Rank Model Volume February 2022 Change year-on-year
1 Toyota HiLux 4803 down 0.1 per cent
2 Toyota RAV4 4454 up 61.9 per cent
3 Mitsubishi Triton 3811 up 116.4 per cent
4 Ford Ranger 3455 up 19.1 per cent
5 Toyota Prado 2778 up 97.4 per cent
6 MG ZS 1953 up 50.0 per cent
7 Isuzu D-Max 1930 up 9.3 per cent
8 Mazda CX-30 1819 up 106.4 per cent
9 Hyundai i30 1756 down 20.5 per cent
10 Mitsubishi Outlander 1673 up 42.0 per cent

TOP 10 CAR BRANDS IN February 2022

Rank Brand Volume February 2022 Change year-on-year
1 Toyota 20,886 up 13.7 per cent
2 Mazda 8782 up 5.5 per cent
3 Mitsubishi 7813 up 26.0 per cent
4 Kia 5881 up 0.2 per cent
5 Hyundai 5649 down 9.6 per cent
6 Ford 4610 down 2.2 per cent
7 MG 3767 up 24.9 per cent
8 Subaru 3151 up 19.4 per cent
9 Nissan 2820 down 26.3 per cent
10 Isuzu 2785 up 11.0 per cent

Passenger cars: Top Three in each segment in February 2022

Micro Kia Picanto (315) Mitsubishi Mirage (184) Fiat 500 (57)
Light < $25k MG 3 (1437) Mazda 2 (387) Suzuki Baleno (379)
Light > $25k Mini (165) Audi A1 (37) Citroen C3 (1)
Small < $40k Hyundai i30 (1756) Toyota Corolla (1671) Kia Cerato (1188)
Small > $40k BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe (132) BMW 1 Series (128) Mercedes–Benz A-Class (88)
Medium < $60k Toyota Camry (1206) Skoda Octavia (114) Mazda 6 (98)
Medium > $60k BMW 3 Series (291) Mercedes–Benz C-Class (103) Lexus ES (86)
Large < $70k Kia Stinger (314) Skoda Superb (57)
Large > $70k BMW 5 Series (49) Porsche Taycan (48) Mercedes–Benz E-Class (21)
Upper Large < $100k Chrysler 300 (11)
Upper Large > $100k Mercedes-Benz S-Class (8) Porsche Panamera (5), BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe (5), BMW 7 Series (5) Rolls-Royce sedan (3)
People Movers Kia Carnival (454) Hyundai Staria (162) Honda Odyssey (132)
Sports < $80k Ford Mustang (202) BMW 2 Series coupe/convertible (81) Subaru BRZ (80)
Sports > $80k BMW 4 Series coupe/convertible (81) Chevrolet Corvette Stingray (28) Mercedes-Benz C-Class coupe/convertible (25)
Sports > $200k Porsche 911 (37) Ferrari coupe/convertible (17) Bentley coupe/convertible (13)

SUVs: Top Three in each segment in February 2022

Light SUV Mazda CX-3 (1465) Toyota Yaris Cross (1013) Hyundai Venue (714)
Small SUV < $40k MG ZS (1953) Mazda CX-30 (1819) Kia Seltos (1030)
Small SUV > $40k Volvo XC40 (493) BMW X1 (272) Audi Q3 (176)
Medium SUV < $60k Toyota RAV4 (4454) Mitsubishi Outlander (1673) Kia Sportage (1296)
Medium SUV > $60k Lexus NX (398) Mercedes-Benz GLB-Class (320) Audi Q5 (308)
SUV Large < $70k Toyota Prado (2778) Isuzu Ute MU-X (855) Toyota Kluger (664)
SUV Large > $70k BMW X5 (307) Mercedes–Benz GLE Wagon (151) Lexus RX (116)
SUV Upper Large < $100k Nissan Patrol Wagon (670) Toyota LandCruiser Wagon (612)
SUV Upper Large > $100k BMW X7 (78) Mercedes-Benz GLS (38) Audi Q8 (17)

Utes and vans: Top Three in each segment in February 2022

Vans < 2.5t Renault Kangoo (89) Volkswagen Caddy (69) Peugeot Partner (17)
Vans 2.5t-3.5t Toyota HiAce Van (941) LDV G10/G10+ (299) Hyundai Staria Load (205)
4×2 Utes Toyota HiLux 4×2 (1226) Isuzu Ute D-Max 4×2 (354) Mitsubishi Triton 4×2 (350)
4×4 Utes Toyota HiLux 4×4 (3577) Mitsubishi Triton 4×4 (3461) Ford Ranger 4×4 (3196)

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