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Where new cars sold in Australia in 2019 came from

The Toyota Corolla was the most popular new passenger car sold Down Under last year.

Of the 1,062,867 new vehicles sold in Australia last year, just 45 were locally manufactured – a crazy thought a decade ago, right?

While that number may seem miniscule, keep in mind 2019 was the second calendar year after Holden and Toyota stopped making cars in South Australia and Victoria respectively.

So, like us, you might be wondering exactly where the other 1,062,822 new vehicles were imported from…

Read on for a list of the top-10 countries that exported new vehicles to Australia in 2019. While some of the results are unsurprising, we feel others might shock you.

Spoiler alert: the top five alone accounted for a staggering 82.9 per cent of last year’s local new-vehicle market.

1. Japan

The CX-5 was Mazda's best selling model last year. The CX-5 was Mazda's best selling model last year.

Well, this is hardly surprising. Toyota was once again market leader in 2019, and given nearly all of its models were imported from Japan, you could’ve seen this result coming from a mile away.

And yes, we haven’t even talked about the contributions of MazdaMitsubishiNissan and Honda, among others, yet. Anyway, 334,075 new vehicles were imported from Japan last year. As impressive as that may sound, though, it was down 6.2 per cent over 2018.

2. Thailand

The Triton is one of the many dual-cabs built in Thailand. The Triton is one of the many dual-cabs built in Thailand.

We’re confident there’s a few of you out there that might be perplexed by this one. How did Thailand finish in second position? Dual-cab utes – and lots of them.

Indeed, the Toyota HiLuxFord RangerMitsubishi Triton and many of their rivals are exported from Thailand. All in all, 271,120 new vehicles came our way from there in 2019, but this result was down 9.7 per cent year-on-year.

3. Korea

The Hyundai i30 rose up the sales charts last year, finishing second in its segment. The Hyundai i30 rose up the sales charts last year, finishing second in its segment.

Okay, Korea is another obvious one. Hyundai and Kia are almost single-handedly responsible for this result. The i30 and Cerato, in particular, shouldered the load, accounting for about a third of those imports, but many others also contributed.

For reference, Korea exported 150,630 new vehicles to Australia last year, down 11.0 per cent over 2018. No matter how you look at it, that was a significant result.

4. Germany

The ZB Holden Commodore is manufactured in Germany. The ZB Holden Commodore is manufactured in Germany.

Well, well, well. Another certainty. Germany was prominent once again, with Mercedes-BenzBMW and Audi underpinning the result. That said, not of all the big three’s models come from native Germany, but more on that later.

Speaking of oddities, the Holden Commodore is imported from there. Well, was … but we digress, as 84,166 new vehicles were exported this way in 2019, down 7.9 per cent year-on-year.

5. The United States

The Mustang sits behind the Ranger as Ford's second best selling model. The Mustang sits behind the Ranger as Ford's second best selling model.

When enthusiasts think of the United States, the first models that spring to their minds are muscle cars. And Australia is lucky enough to import the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro, even if the latter is locally remanufactured by HSV.

That said, there are a lot more new vehicles that are exported from the US, with BMW SUVs among the strangest on a long list. Either way, 41,275 new vehicles made their way here from over there last year, but that result was down 7.2 per cent over 2018.

6. England

A total of 28,025 new vehicles were imported to Australia from England in 2019. A total of 28,025 new vehicles were imported to Australia from England in 2019.

Did you forget about England like we did? Brexit or not, it’s still a prevalent exporter of new vehicles. Indeed, a mix of JaguarMiniAston Martin models, among others, all come our way from their proverbial motherland.

Once all was said and done, 28,025 new vehicles were imported to Australia from England in 2019, down 15.1 per cent year-on-year.

7. China

MG is on the way up in Australia. MG is on the way up in Australia.

The rise of China as a new-vehicle exporter simply cannot be denied. In particular, MG and Great Wall sales are booming – seriously booming – while LDV is going from strength to strength.

Still not convinced? Consider that the 17,957 new vehicles imported to Australia from China last year represented a massive 71.2 per increase over 2018.

8. Mexico

The Equinox hasn't quite lived up to Holden's expectations yet, especially after a down 2019. The Equinox hasn't quite lived up to Holden's expectations yet, especially after a down 2019.

Yep, Mexico is among the top new-vehicle exporters, with more models than you would think coming to Australia from there. Holden Equinox? Check. Audi Q5. Check. And the list goes on.

All in all, 14,724 new vehicles were built in Mexico and sent to Australia in 2019 – a more than healthy 24.2 per cent increase year-on-year.

9. Czech Republic

Thanks to a growing portfolio of SUVs, Skoda's prominence is rising. Thanks to a growing portfolio of SUVs, Skoda's prominence is rising.

Now this is one we think will surprise you the most: the Czech Republic. Well, don’t forget native Skoda’s recent rise to prominence, with its SUV portfolio helping it along. And let’s not forget one of our favourite hot hatches, the Hyundai i30 N, is also built there.

With 14,123 new vehicles imported from the Czech Republic to Australia last year, up 18.4 per cent over 2018, it’s well and truly on the map now.

10. South Africa

The Mercedes-Benz C-Class is manufactured in South Africa. Who would've thought? The Mercedes-Benz C-Class is manufactured in South Africa. Who would've thought?

Did you realise how many new vehicles are exported from South Africa? Once upon a time, the BMW 3 Series was one of them, but its key rival, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class remains.

In total, 11,769 new vehicles made their way to Australia in 2019. While this is a small number compared to the rest of the top 10, it represented a significant 34.9 per cent increase year-on-year.

Note: The 2019 VFACTS sales report we sourced the above data from lists ‘Other’ as a country. For reference, it exported 30,254 new vehicles last year, down 11.2 per cent.