The numbers are in and they’re up. But there’s more to them than meets the eye, especially if you’re one of Australia’s official new-vehicle importers.
The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), Australia’s car industry peak body, published our country’s official 2022 new-vehicle sales data this month.
The figures reveal some good stories.
Total new-vehicle sales came to 1,081,429, the best annual result in some years.
Toyota was the biggest-selling brand with 21.4% market share. Its HiLux utility was Australia’s best-selling new vehicle.
One local sales niche worth noting is the market for American-made pick-ups. This has emerged as a popular place for Australian 4×4 ute buyers seeking more heft and towing grunt.
These left-hand drive US-market trucks undergo local right-hand drive conversions by independent companies before being sold here. So far there seems to be local demand for them. Dodge RAM sales were up 52.8% last year. And more makes and models are said to be coming.
EVs (electric vehicles) made big strides in Australia during 2022. Battery electric vehicles made up 3.1 per cent of all new-car sales. It was reported almost 60% of them were Teslas.
Hybrids also deserve a mention, especially in the case of Toyota. Combustion-electric models made up 31.5% of their total 2022 sales in Australia, a percentage similar to the company’s global result.
These numbers paint a solid picture. You could sum up Australia’s new-car sales situation as “on the up”.
But dig into what these number really indicate and you’ll find some revealing stories.
And if you’re an official new-vehicle importer in Australia, they all represent local-market opportunities.
Here’s three of them.
First up: a number of Australia’s top-selling new vehicles had significant Australian input in their development.
Various global automakers run substantial new-model engineering programs in Australia. They do this to access Australia’s car-making know-how and to use our unique driving conditions to create better products. There are other reasons. But the point is these top-selling vehicles have local buyer desire.
Australian customers like their cars and commercial vehicles to have Australian technical input.
Secondly, Australia’s new-car tastes have changed in recent years.
Particular styling and functions that appeal to buyers in overseas markets can have the opposite effect with Australian customers.
Brands that incorporate local new-car wants are attracting customers.
Our research shows that it’s not only these local designs and enhancements that appeal to these customers; it’s the fact the brand has “listened to them”.
And finally there’s the growing EV wave in front of us.
Tesla might have dominated last year’s electric car scoreboard but more EVs are coming, from brands both long-standing and new. And EVs aren’t just showing up in OEM importers’ new-vehicle showrooms and websites; existing fossil-fuel-powered vehicles are starting to undergo EV conversions. I’m not referring to the odd car here and there, but large-scale changeovers. Watch this space.
What do these three points mean for carmakers? Opportunities.
Opportunities to capture more buyers with local new-car development, opportunities for more customers via local new-vehicle enhancement programs, and opportunities to capture more EV sales.
Now is the time to raise Australia’s manufacturing spinnaker and make the most of these winds of change. Because it’ll take local companies and our economy to places some people currently think aren’t possible.
Getting there might seem hard to achieve right now, but they are, in fact, well within our reach.
Bernie Quinn – Engineering Director, Premcar Pty Ltd
About Premcar – Premcar Pty Ltd is a leading Australian vehicle engineering business that specialises in the automotive, defence and aerospace industries. For more than 25 years, global car-makers have made Premcar their go-to partner for the complete design, engineering and manufacture of niche-model new cars, full-scale new-vehicle development programs, and electric vehicle (EV) conversions and manufacturing. As the name behind more than 200,000 new cars and 55,000 new-vehicle engines, Premcar’s body of work is extensive and has delivered technical and sales success for major car brands from Europe, the USA, Japan, China and Australia. Visit premcar.com.
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