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Where did the sedans go? Here's the data on all the types of cars Australians are buying in 2022

Cars like the Toyota RAV4 and Ford Ranger dominate the market, but is it all utes and SUVs?

Australians don’t buy cars like they used to, we know this, and we also know that SUVs and utes have filled showrooms and flown out the doors faster than they can be stocked lately - but what does the Australian car market really look like right now?

We have broken down the percentage of new-car sales that are SUVs, utes, and even vans and sports cars, highlighting the major models in each category as defined by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI).

Let’s start at the top, where the overall new-car market in 2022 so far is made up of 52.7 per cent SUVs. Every second vehicle leaving a dealership this year has been an SUV.

Making up 19.7 per cent of new-car sales overall is the most popular vehicle category in the country: medium SUVs, as defined by the FCAI.

It shouldn’t be a surprise given that popular models like the Toyota RAV4, Mitsubishi Outlander, and Mazda CX-5 live in this category, as well as more expensive SUVs like the BMW X3, and even the Tesla Model Y.

Either side of that, small and large SUVs each make up 13 per cent of overall sales in 2022, the former including SUVs like the Mazda CX-30, enduringly popular Mitsubishi ASX, and the top of the small SUV sales class, the MG ZS.

The large SUV class is carried both by road-going cars like the Toyota Kluger and Subaru Outback, but also by ute-twinned wagons like the Isuzu MU-X and Ford Everest. It’s also the category where the Toyota Prado lives.

Light SUVs, cars like the Mazda CX-3 and Hyundai Venue, make up 4.9 per cent of all sales, while upper large SUVs, are 2.0 per cent. These include the Toyota LandCruiser and Nissan Patrol, but also luxury halo SUVs like the BMW X7, Mercedes-Benz GLS, and even Bentley Bentayga and Rolls Royce Cullinan.

Small SUVs make up 13 per cent of overall sales in 2022.

After SUVs, utes alone make up 21.3 per cent of new cars sold in 2022, largely made up by the Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger, with Mitsubishi’s Triton and Isuzu’s D-Max hanging around about half their sales. Interestingly, of that 21.3 per cent, 18.1 points are 4x4 utes, and 3.2 are 4x2 (two-wheel drive) utes, the latter carried heavily by the HiLux.

Adding in commercial vans (2.3 per cent of 2022 sales) and light buses ( 0.3 per cent, not including people movers like the Kia Carnival, etc.) the light-commercial vehicle segment is 24.0 per cent of Australia’s 2022 new vehicle market.

Heavy commercials, like trucks and large commercial vans, are 4.3 per cent of the market.

Utes alone make up 21.3 per cent of new cars sold in 2022.

This leaves just 19.1 per cent for the category that used to be almost all new vehicles: passenger cars. The category is broad, ranging from sedans to hatchbacks, to convertibles and people movers (MPVs like the aforementioned Carnival).

Small cars like the Toyota Corolla and Hyundai i30, make up 8.3 per cent of cars sold in 2022, while the light category, where the increasingly popular MG 3 lives, makes up 4.2 per cent. Micro cars are just 0.6 per cent, and most of that (4135 sales, 77.5 per cent of the micro segment) is the Kia Picanto.

Medium cars like the Toyota Camry make up just 3.6 per cent of new cars now. Without the Camry, the Mazda 6, and the increasingly popular Tesla Model 3, it’d be effectively none.

The Tesla Model 3 outsold the Camry last month.

Side note, the Tesla has outsold Camry by just six cars this year - 8680 to 8674.

Large and upper large cars like the Kia Stinger and Mercedes-Benz S-Class respectively, make up 0.5 and 0.1 per cent of the market for each segment.

People movers, vans like the Kia Carnival, make up 1.1 per cent of 2022’s sales, leaving just 0.8 per cent left for sports cars.

The sports category ranges from the Ford Mustang and Mazda MX-5, up to the likes of the Chevrolet Corvette and the Porsche 911. The Mustang remains the most popular of these, with 1592 sales this year.

Chris Thompson
Racing video games, car-spotting on road trips, and helping wash the family VL Calais Turbo as a kid were all early indicators that an interest in cars would stay present in Chris’ life, but loading up his 1990 VW Golf GTI Mk2 and moving from hometown Brisbane to work in automotive publishing in Melbourne ensured cars would be a constant. With a few years as MOTOR Magazine’s first digital journalist under his belt, followed by a stint as a staff journalist for Wheels Magazine, Chris’ career already speaks to a passion for anything with four wheels, especially the 1989 Mazda MX-5 he currently owns. From spending entire weeks dissecting the dynamic abilities of sports cars to weighing up the practical options for car buyers from all walks of life, Chris’ love for writing and talking about cars means if you’ve got a motoring question, he can give you an answer.
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