Australians pride themselves on our nation’s ability to punch above its weight on the world sporting stage. We do the same when it comes to car sales, yet it’s not celebrated or even supported. Why not?

Australia is the world’s 53rd-largest country in terms of population. We’re home to fewer people than Madagascar, Yemen, Nepal, Angola and Uzbekistan and yet we regularly finish in the top 10 of Olympic medal tallies. It’s a similar story with car sales.

Despite its relatively small stature in terms of population, Australia is a giant when it comes to car sales. In 2015 we were one of just 18 nations in which more than one million new vehicles were sold. The 53rd-largest population in the world bought the 16th-highest number of cars.

In terms of sales per capita we ranked third, behind only the USA and Canada. Across the world 1.2 per cent of the population bought a new car last year; in Australia that figure was 4.81 per cent. We buy more new cars per head of population than the UK, Germany, Japan, South Korea and France. We sell 1.29 per cent of the world’s new cars despite having just 0.32 per cent of the population.

These are impressive numbers and they only get more impressive when you look at our industry’s impact on our domestic economy.

FCAI statistics show that the Australian retail automotive industry is directly responsible for employing one per cent of the national base (66,400 people across 3,500 dealerships). Counting indirect employment via the supply chain effect of 94,700 and induced employment (income effect) of 75,400, the Australian new vehicle industry has a total employment impact of 236,500 – or more than two per cent of the national workforce.

In monetary terms, the new car industry adds $17.5 billion in value to the Australian economy. The income impact is $8.5 billion, with a tax revenue impact of $5.6 billion.

Our economic impact is only projected to grow in the coming years. In the year 2000, we sold 768,000 new vehicles in this country. In 2008 it was 976,000. In 2015 it was 1.155 million. By 2013 it is projected to be 1.209 million.

These numbers prove that our industry is a major contributor to the Australian economy. So why don’t we have the influence that should be expected of such a large player? Why do politicians continue to think of us as mere ‘car yard operators’, completely ignoring our needs and ideas when it comes to writing legislation that is good not only for our industry but the Australian economy as a whole?

Our customers love us

A 2014 consumer survey showed that buying a new car was the Number One most satisfying purchasing experience for Australians, both in terms of the product and the provider. Number two was having their car serviced at a Dealer, again for both the product and the provider.

This puts Australian new car Dealers at the top of the tree in terms of both product and service, ahead of hotels, restaurants, airlines, mobile phone, computer and electrical goods providers – ahead of everyone else! Our customers are the most satisfied in the country!

We need to make our politicians aware of just how much we contribute. Contact your local member. Show them these numbers. Make them understand what an important part of the economy we are. And AADA will continue to do the same at a national level.

We’re a major industry. Let’s act like it.


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