'New vehicle sales are currently dictated more by supply than demand.‘
The rough finish to 2021, continued into January of 2022, with new vehicle purchasers continuing to face supply shortages off the back of semiconductor shortages, production slowdowns (including further COVID outbreaks), and shipping delays. The wait time for a new car order across the nation has reached an average of 124 days (based on a 3-month moving average), with some dealerships estimating at least 6-12 months for in-demand models. These long wait times have shifted the balance of power towards the dealerships, while also forcing potential buyers to consider demo and used cars (driving increases in their prices, in some cases even higher than brand new models).
The year started with January continuing the downward trend. Tasmania was the only state that recorded positive sales (up 15%). MG also continued its impressive run, with two vehicles breaking the top 10 for the first time ever (the MG ZS and the MG 3 ranked 8th and 9th respectively).
Despite the ongoing supply chain issues, the nation reported a month of positive sales in February. Looking deeper into the data, for the first time in recorded new-car sales history, there was only one passenger car that ranked inside the top 10. The Hyundai i30 came in at 9th with 1,756 sales, demonstrating the scale of the shift from passenger vehicles to utes and SUVs. For reference, the passenger vehicle market share dropped to just 18% of total sales, which is astonishing as it was 59% as recently as 2010.
March was a similar story to February, as the nation’s dealerships posted a second consecutive month of growth. With 101,233 new-car sales recorded, it was the highest March figure in 4 years and was just 5% below 2018’s record month. Further, the massively popular Toyota HiLux 4x4 saw its highest selling month of 4,911, up from the previous high of 4,811 back in June 2020. Another interesting talking point was the release of Tesla Q1 new-car sale figures. Whilst Tesla only provided an aggregate figure of vehicles delivered through the quarter, the 4,417 units put the American manufacturer at 15th for Q1.
April broke the trend of a positive start to 2022, with new-car sales falling more than 10% below the historical average for the month. Although April figures are always historically low due to fewer selling days (given the number of public holidays), this result is still considered poor.
In summary, we are 4-months of data into 2022 and global stock shortages continue to plague the automotive landscape. While we are hopeful of seeing a resolution, some industry experts predict this will last for as long as 18 more months. We will therefore continue to see strong sales numbers from manufacturers who have the capacity to build and deliver vehicles, even if they’re not the traditionally successful makes and models.