For the third time in the past four years, in 2016 Australians bought a record number of new cars, with sales of passenger cars, SUVs and light commercials for the year reaching almost 1.2 million.
The total of 1,178,133 was a two per cent increase on the previous record, set in 2015. It was the seventh consecutive year of sales exceeding one million.
For the first time ever a light commercial vehicle, the Toyota Hilux, was the nation’s best-selling vehicle.
FCAI Chief Executive Tony Weber said the success of the Hilux and the continued growth of SUV sales over the past decade highlighted a remarkable change in the traditional composition of the Australian vehicle market.
“It is an intriguing and exciting time for industry watchers, as there’s little doubt we are observing a significant and dynamic transition in consumer preference,” Mr Weber said.
“While buyer demand for traditional passenger cars remains healthy, it’s clear consumers are gradually transitioning into other segments. The growth, as was witnessed in 2016 and appears certain to continue in 2017, is in SUVs and light commercial vehicles, particularly dual cab utilities.
“New models with significant performance and comfort attributes, combined with the existing vehicle mix, continued to make Australia one of the most competitive new car markets in the world.”
Mr Weber said SUV sales in particular continued to grow in 2016, with that vehicle type now accounting for 37.4 per cent of the market, up from 35.4 per cent in 2015.
Light commercial vehicles held 18.5 per cent of the market in 2016, up from 17.2 per cent in 2015.
Among the states and territories, those that experienced sales growth during 2016 compared with 2015 were New South Wales (+4.4%), Victoria (+3.4%), South Australia (+3.9%), ACT (+4.3%), Northern Territory (+2%) and Tasmania (+0.3%). The two states to decline were Western Australia (-5.6%) and Queensland (-1.1%).
Business sales increased by 13 per cent compared with 2015, and rental sales rose 6 per cent. Private sales declined 5.8 per cent and Government purchases by 1.4 per cent.
For calendar year 2016, Toyota led the market with 17.8 per cent, followed by Mazda with 10 per cent, Hyundai (8.6 per cent), Holden (8 per cent) and Ford (6.9).
Australia’s top-selling vehicle for 2016 was the Toyota Hilux with 42,104 sales. This was followed by the Toyota Corolla with 40,330 sales, the Hyundai i30 (37,772), Ford Ranger (36,934) and Mazda3 (36,107).
The December 2016 market saw Toyota remain the top-selling brand with 20.2 per cent. Mazda was in second place with 9.9 per cent, Holden (7.8 per cent), Hyundai (7.1 per cent) and Mitsubishi (6.8 per cent).
Australia’s best-selling vehicle in December was the Toyota Camry with 4,850 sales. It was followed by the Toyota Hilux with 4,086, the Ford Ranger (3,367), Mazda3 (3,141) and the Toyota Corolla (2,927).