Australia has a population of 26.6 million (humans only, sheep not included), while Malaysia’s population is 33.9 million. Pending an announcement by the Malaysian Automotive Association, the total number of vehicles sold in Malaysia in 2023 is expected to be around 795,000 units and you would expect that with a smaller population, Australia’s new vehicle sales would be lower.
Surprisingly, that is not the case: in 2023, a total of 1,216,780 new vehicles were delivered which was an all-time record for the Australian automotive market. The market used to be below 1 million units and crossed that level in 2015, with 2017 having had the previous highest volume (1,189,116 units).
By brand, Toyota was No. 1 with 215,240 units accounting for 17.7% of the market. However, while the Hilux was Toyota’s bestselling model, it was beaten by the Ford Ranger which was the bestselling model in Australia in 2023.
Like many other markets today, SUVs/crossovers and light commercial vehicles (which trucks are usually classified as) were dominant and accounted for 78.4% of sales. In fact, they made up all top 10 models sold in 2023.
The Australian government is also encouraging the switch to EVs and has offered subsidies and other incentives in 2023. This boosted sales of the zero emission vehicles but in total, only 196,868 new electrified vehicles were sold last year. That’s 16.2% of the total sales and battery electric vehicles alone were just 7.2% of the number.
“This is a tremendously exciting time for the industry. Consumers have a wide choice of vehicles available to meet their work, recreation and family needs that come equipped with the latest advancements in engine technology, safety features and advanced driving, navigation and entertainment aids,” said Tony Weber, CEO of the Australian Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries.
“The extraordinary sales result of 2023 is a testament to the adaptability and resilience of both industry players and consumers alike. Despite the supply chain disruptions faced in recent times, consumers now have greater access to a broad range of choices, fostering increased accessibility in the market,” he added.
“As we celebrate this historic achievement, we recognise that the automotive sector will face challenges in the coming months. Cost-of-living pressures and increased interest rates will impact the market, and we anticipate a challenging 2024,” said Mr. Weber.