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Australia’s new-car market remained steady in February, despite the dreaded semiconductor shortage and ongoing issues with supply chains continuing to impact sales.
The overall market actually grew by 1.5 per cent last month compared with February 2021, with 1363 more cars sold.
The well-documented issues in getting cars to customers has seen some brands impacted more than others, but it seems none of them are immune.
The sporadic availability of different models and variants made for some interesting movements in the sales charts last month.
There was no surprise at the top with Toyota easily claiming number one with 20,886, a 13.7 per cent increase on last February, thanks to a bumper month for the top-selling HiLux that found 4803 (-0.1%) homes.
Following the HiLux was the RAV4 SUV in second with a healthy 4454 (+62%), while the Prado off-roader also scored big last month landing in fifth with 2778 units, representing a solid 97.4 per cent jump. The Corolla was kept out of the top 10 by just two sales.
Mitsubishi continued its excellent form with a podium finish thanks to a tally of 7813 (+26%) and a cracking month for the Triton ute (3811, +116.4%). The new-generation Outlander was the model keeping the Corolla out of the main charts, finishing 10th with 1673 (+42%).
Kia held the fourth placing it achieved last month with 5881 sales, just 10 more units than February last year. Kia did not have a model in the top 10 but its haul was enough to keep it ahead of sister brand and rival, Hyundai, for the second consecutive month.
Out of the top five, Ford was a fair distance behind Hyundai in sixth with 4610, but only lost 2.2 per cent volume compared with a year ago. The Ranger ute was fourth overall, but that’s not an indication of a bad performance. In fact, the 3455 Ranger tally was 19.1 per cent better than last February. It was just beaten by huge numbers from the two Toyotas and the Triton.
MG continued its rise, holding seventh spot (3767), with the ZS small SUV landing in sixth place (1953, +50%). While MG’s result was still very strong, there are indications that sales for MG – and fellow SAIC-owned brand LDV – might be levelling out.
MG’s sales were up 24.9 per cent last month, which is lower than the triple-digit increases we’ve seen in the past. Likewise, LDV recorded a 22.1 per cent increase, not the massive jumps they’ve previously had.
Meanwhile, Mercedes-Benz Cars had a slow month (1245, -55.8%) for the same reasons as VW. Orders outstripping supply and vehicles getting caught in bottlenecks of port congestion and quarantine inspections at the border, as well as shipping delays.
The French brands continued their sales turnaround last month, with Renault recording an impressive 248.6 per cent rise to 1018 units. Every one of its models, except the Trafic, recording double or triple-digit percentage increases.
Half of the states and territories – Australian Capital Territory, Western Australia, New South Wales and Northern Territory – recorded negative results last month, while Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria all saw increases.
Passenger cars slid by 18.3 per cent, while SUVs (+5.4%) and light-commercial vehicles (+12.3%) grew.
Medium passenger car sales have been in decline for years, but they got a bump last month (+7.6%) on the back of strong interest in the Hyundai Sonata, Peugeot 508, Toyota Camry and Volkswagen Passat.
All SUV segments grew except for small (-3.9%) and upper large (-25.3%), while 4x2 (+10.6%) and 4x4 (+15.7%) utes were in positive territory.
Business purchases were down last month (-6.9%) and rental sales also stalled (-3.3%).