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Tesla Model 3 tops Toyota Camry sales! Electric car brand outsells Volkswagen, MG and Subaru in Australia as EV sales soar

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While the Model Y SUV was Tesla's top seller last month, the Model 3 sedan (above) outsold the Toyota Camry.
While the Model Y SUV was Tesla's top seller last month, the Model 3 sedan (above) outsold the Toyota Camry.

The Tesla Model 3 is officially more popular than the humble Toyota Camry in Australia!

According to September sales figures released today by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), the Chinese-made electric car has leapfrogged the Camry, which has long been the most popular mid-size or large sedan in the country.

Tesla sold 1610 Model 3 sedans last month for a year-to-date (YTD) total of 8647 units, which is nearly 600 ahead of the 8073 YTD figure of the Camry.

In fact, September was a huge month for Tesla, which recorded 5969 sales all up to land in sixth place overall. That figure was largely due to a massive shipment of Model Ys landing last month that equalled 4359 sales for the electric SUV.

Incredibly, that meant the Model Y was the third best-selling vehicle in Australia last month behind two predominantly diesel-powered one-tonne utes - the top-selling Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger.

Currently, Tesla is sitting in 16th place overall for YTD sales behind Suzuki and GWM, but ahead of Honda, LDV and Audi.

According to the FCAI’s figures, last month was a big one for EVs, with a whopping 7247 registrations in September for electric cars. Not only is that a 1455 per cent increase over September 2021’s EV sales total, it’s way more than last month’s 5141 combined sales for hybrids and plug-in hybrids.

Hybrid sales alone were down by 33.7 per cent on the same month last year, but that is almost certainly a result of continued supply issues for the leading hybrid brand, Toyota. That’s reflected in the result for the RAV4 SUV, which, despite landing in eighth place overall, was down by 45.3 per cent.

Camry is now the second best-selling sedan in Australia.
Camry is now the second best-selling sedan in Australia.

PHEV sales also got a boost, up 74.4 per cent, and that is likely a result of the new-gen Mitsubishi Outlander plug-in that went on sale in August, boosting overall Outlander sales (1879, +80.2%).

Overall sales last month were 93,555, which is 12.3 per cent up on September 2021, but the FCAI cautioned that logistics and supply chain issues remained “problematic” for the industry.

Toyota led the market as per usual last month, but the supply issues clearly impacted overall sales, as Brand T was one of only two top-10 carmakers to lose ground. Toyota sold 14,852, down 26.5 per cent. In a rare occurrence, Toyota only had two models in the top 10 - the HiLux (5170, +42.2%) and RAV4 (1856). Usually they’d be accompanied by the Corolla and occasionally the Prado.

Kia (7290, +41.4%) nabbed second spot last month, pushing Mazda (7259, +10.7%) into third place by outselling the Japanese brand by just 31 units.

Kia’s result was buoyed by strong Sportage (1775, +217.5%) sales, enough for ninth place, while Mazda’s medium SUV contender, the CX-5 (2439, +72.4%) rocketed into fourth place.

The Model Y slid into third spot overall in September.
The Model Y slid into third spot overall in September.

Mitsubishi (6784, +41.3%) had another huge month to land in fourth, with a massive haul for the Triton (2319, +310.4%) ensuring the ute landed in fifth place. The Triton edged out its Isuzu D-Max rival by close to 400 sales.

Ford (6635, +15.2%) regained some ground to take fifth place overall, thanks to slowly improving supply of its new-generation Ranger (4890, +16.7%) ute that held second place overall.

Ford’s strong result was bad news for Hyundai (6501), which, despite a 19.1 per cent increase in sales over last September, was relegated to sixth place overall. The i30 small car (1733, -14.8%) was the only model in the top 10.

Following Tesla was Volkswagen (3698, -2.5%) in eighth position, the only other carmaker aside from Toyota to slide in September.

The Triton helped Mitsubishi to another big haul last month.
The Triton helped Mitsubishi to another big haul last month.

MG (3261, +8.3%) continued to record growth last month, highlighting the continued strength of Chinese brands in Australia. As the FCAI pointed out, China was the third largest supplier of vehicles to Australia last month behind Japan and Thailand.

Subaru (3167, +3.4%) rounded out the top 10, just keeping Isuzu out of the list.

One of the biggest shocks was Nissan (1885, -33.1%) which was 14th last month, trailing premium brands like Mercedes-Benz and BMW. A lack of supply of key models like the Qashqai and Pathfinder are badly impacting the Japanese carmaker’s fortunes this year.

In terms of individual state and territory sales, the ACT (+67.7%), New South Wales (+20.8%), Queensland (+2.9%) and Victoria (+23.8%) all saw increases last month, while Northern Territory (-9.8%), South Australia (-2.2%) and Western Australia (-6.0%) all dipped.

Most popular brands of September 2022

RankingBrandSalesVariance%
1Toyota14,852-26.5
2Kia7290+41.4
3Mazda7259+10.7
4Mitsubishi6784+47.3
5Ford6635+15.2
6Hyundai6501+19.1
7Tesla5969-
8Volkswagen3698-2.5
9MG3261+8.3
10Subaru3167+3.4

Most popular models of September 2022

RankingModelSalesVariance%
1Toyota HiLux5170+42.2
2Ford Ranger4890+16.7
3Tesla Model Y4359-
4Mazda CX-52439+72.4
5Mitsubishi Triton2319+310.4
6Isuzu D-Max1924+5.0
7Mitsubishi Outlander1879+80.2
8Toyota RAV41856-45.3
9Kia Sportage1775+217.5
10Hyundai i301733-14.8
Tim Nicholson
Managing Editor
Calling out the make and model of every single car he saw as a toddler might have challenged his parents’ patience, but it was clearly a starting point for Tim Nicholson’s journey into automotive journalism. Tim launched the program, Fender Bender, on community radio station JOY 94.9 during completion of his Master of Arts (Media and Communications). This led to an entry role at industry publication GoAuto, before eventually taking the role of Managing Editor. A stint as RACV’s Motoring Editor – including being an Australia’s Best Cars judge – provided a different perspective to automotive media, before leading him to CarsGuide where he started as a Contributing Journalist in September 2021, and transitioned to Senior Editor in April 2022, before becoming Managing Editor in December 2022.
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