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The global pandemic and stock and delivery issues caused by semi-conductor shortages have not dented Australian new-car sales, with 1,049,831 registrations recorded in 2021, marking a 14.5 per cent increase over 2020.
The strong sales result comes as buyers continue to face long waiting times for delivery of their new wheels across most marques.
Taking the title of best-selling brand for the 19th year running was Toyota, which sold a whopping 223,642 vehicles in 2021, a 9.2 per cent increase on 2020 and enough to capture a 21.3 per cent market share.
Toyota says it is the only brand to achieve sales of more than 200,000 in a single year, a feat it has achieved for the past 10 years.
The Japanese giant ended 2021 with four models in the top 10. The HiLux ute held on to top spot with 52,801 sales (+16.9%), just enough to edge out its arch-rival, the Ford Ranger, that came dangerously close to de-throning the HiLux with a haul of 50,279 (+22.7%).
Toyota’s other top models included the RAV4 which held onto 2020’s third placing with 35,751 despite a 7.2 per cent sales dip, followed by the Corolla – the country’s best-selling passenger car – on 28,768 (+11.2%) in fourth.
Mazda came second overall with its 101,119-tally representing an 18.1 per cent jump on 2020. The only Mazda model to land in the top 10 was the RAV4-rivalling CX-5 medium SUV which came seventh with 24,968 (+13.6%).
Hyundai capped off a mixed year in third place with 72,872 (+12.4%) units, helped along by the success of the i30 hatch and sedan range that captured 25,575 (+23.3%) sales to land in fifth place and be one of only two passenger cars to make the top 10.
Ford had a bumper year, increasing its overall sales by 19.8 per cent for a 2021 haul of 71,380 units.
No prizes for guessing the reason for Ford’s success. The second-placed Ranger’s sales make up just over 70 per cent of Ford’s total tally. The next best-selling Ford is the Ranger-based Everest on 8359 sales, some 42,000 less than Ranger.
The Ranger's result is especially impressive given the new-generation model is set to land early in 2022.
Nissan (41,263, +7.7%) and Volkswagen (40,770, +3.8%) landed in seventh and eighth spot respectively, both experiencing single-digit sales growth last year. VW in particular struggled with significant supply issues caused by parts shortages and the pandemic.
Chinese carmaker MG Motor nabbed a year-end top 10 spot for the first time, landing in ninth with 39,025 sales, an impressive 156 per cent increase on 2020.
MG’s success came across its model line, with strong results for the baby MG3 light hatch (13,774, +92.4%), while the ZS (18,423) edged out the Cerato to place 10th, making it the country’s most popular small SUV thanks to a 235 per cent sales increase.
Subaru rounded out the top 10 brands on 37,015 (+17.5%), just keeping a resurgent Isuzu Ute (35,735, +61.6%) at bay. Isuzu had an impressive year, due largely to the D-Max ute which placed sixth overall behind the Hyundai i30 on 25,117 (+66.8%).
Honda, a former top-10 player for years, was well down the list, ending 2021 with 17,562 sales (-39.5%) – less than Great Wall Motors and only a handful of units ahead of Suzuki – following its shift to a new sales model last year.
Battery electric vehicle sales continued to increase last year by 191.1 per cent, but the segment still only represents 0.5 per cent of the total market.
SUV sales continued to climb in 2021, up by 16.9 per cent, as did light-commercial vehicles (+23.2%), while passenger cars only dropped slightly by 0.2 per cent.