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Ford Ranger and Toyota HiLux top 2023's used-car best sellers as new report reveals price bubble has burst

The Ford Ranger is the most popular used car in Australia in 2023.

A new report has found that the overinflated second-hand car price bubble appears to have burst as the Australian used-car market records more than two million sales in 2023.

It's good news for those looking to buy a second-hand car, and even those looking to sell one will be happy to know demand is still strong.

The Automotive Insights Report released by the Australian Automotive Dealer Association  (AADA) and car market analysis company AutoGrab reveals a record 2,074,535 second-hand cars were sold in 2023.

"This data demonstrates the significance of the used-car market in Australia with more than two million used cars sold in 2023. For every new car sold 1.7 used cars were sold, confirming that most Australians are deciding to purchase used cars," AADA CEO James Voortman.

At the same time the new-car market achieved an all-time sales record with 1,216,780 vehicles delivered to customers in Australia. While the figure does show a return to form for the market, the numbers are boosted by deliveries that had been held up.

"The combined new and used-car market saw almost 3.3 million cars sold in 2023 and it is important for industry participants, regulators and policymakers to look at the entire market when making decisions" Voortman said.

AutoGrab's Chief Commercial Officer Saxon Odgers said the demand for used cars had stayed strong despite new-car supply improving, but he pointed out that prices were coming down.

"The demand for used cars remained robust in 2023, attributed to our growing population and cost of living pressures reducing buying power," Odgers said.

The report also found used-car prices were down by 1-1.5 per cent monthly.

"The good news for those looking to purchase a used car is that we've seen a clear downward price trajectory since March 2023 following a surge of new-vehicle supply, with this pattern anticipated to persist through the first half of 2024.

The Toyota HiLux was hot on the Ranger’s heels in second place with 65,852 sales.

"This represents a win for consumers who now have a choice when looking to buy their next car as new cars are available for delivery and used cars are more accessible," Odgers said.

The report found the best-selling second-hand car was the Ford Ranger with 65,938 used versions sold in Australia. The Toyota HiLux was hot on the Ranger's heels in second place with 65,852 sales.

Those results mirror the new-car sales results from last year with the Ranger and HiLux in first and second place respectively.

The previous three years have seen used-car sellers enjoy high second-hand values for nearly all models. The reason for that came down to two things.

First COVID-19 severely restricted new cars coming into Australia due to car manufacturers having to temporarily close factories as the virus forced the world into lockdowns.

Then when manufacturing restarted the industry found itself with a low supply of vital semiconductor microchips for car electronics.

The combination of these two factors meant excessive wait times for customers, many of whom had to hold tight for almost two years before their new car was delivered.

This meant people turned to the second-hand market to find a vehicle they didn't have to wait for and sellers could charge a premium for their highly sought-after used car.

Other insights to come out of the report include: petrol and diesel cars accounting for 96 per cent of used sales; and while electric vehicles saw an almost doubling in sales and supply, EVs still only made up 0.7 per cent of the total market share.

Richard Berry
Senior Journalist
Richard had wanted to be an astrophysicist since he was a small child. He was so determined that he made it through two years of a physics degree, despite zero mathematical ability. Unable to build a laser in an exam and failing to solve the theoretical challenge of keeping a satellite in orbit, his professor noted the success Richard was enjoying in the drama and writing courses he had been doing on the side. Even though Richard couldn’t see how a degree in story-telling and pretending would ever get him a job, he completed one anyway. Richard has since been a best-selling author and a journalist for 20 years, writing about science, music, finance, cars, TV, art, film, cars, theatre, architecture, food, and cars. He also really likes cars, and has owned an HQ ute, Citroen 2CV, XW Falcon, CV8 Monaro and currently, a 1951 Ford Tudor. A husband and dad, Richard’s hobbies also include astronomy.
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