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Utility Vehicles Continue to Dominate Australian Market Despite Rise in EV Sales

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The Ford Ranger was the most popular vehicle sold in February, followed by the Toyota HiLux.

Electric vehicle (EV) sales in Australia rose to make up 9.6 percent of the new car market in February. However, utility vehicles still remain the most popular, as reported by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI).

Tony Weber, the FCAI chief executive, noted the challenge that the government’s planned fuel efficiency measures face due to the ongoing popularity of utes, which accounted for 20.3 percent of sales in February.

Furthermore, one in five vehicles sold overall were powered by low emissions technologies. In February 2023, battery electric vehicles made up only 6.8 percent of the market, while low emissions sales including hybrids made up 13.9 percent.
Weber added, “Growing sales of electric vehicles across other market segments proves that where a battery electric product exists, which suits the driving habits of Australian motorist’s work and recreation needs, they will purchase these vehicles.”

In February, Australia’s automotive industry sold 105,023 vehicles, marking a 20.9 percent increase from February last year.

Sales improved in every state and territory in February 2024 compared to the same month in 2023.

Total vehicle sales in the Australian Capital Territory increased by 19.9 percent, in New South Wales by 15.7 percent, and in Queensland by 21.9 percent.

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In South Australia, vehicle transactions increased by 16.3 percent, while they rose by 28.5 percent in Tasmania, 29.8 percent in Victoria, 15.3 percent in Western Australia, and 20.1 percent in the Northern Territory.

With February 2024 being a leap year, there were more selling days compared to February 2023.

Toyota emerged as the top-selling brand, with 19,374 sales in February, followed by Mazda with 7,350 sales and Ford with 7,275 sales. Nissan sold 6,617 vehicles, while Mitsubishi recorded 6,411 sales.

Notably, the Ford Ranger was the most popular individual vehicle sold, followed by the Toyota HiLux, Tesla Model 3, Isuzu Ute D-Max, and Toyota RAV4.

New Vehicle Efficiency Standard for Australia

Meanwhile, the federal government plans to introduce new vehicle efficiency standards for Australia.

The government released an analysis of this new standard on Feb. 4 and closed submissions for a consultation on this plan on March 4.

Chris Bowen, the Climate Change and Energy Minister, highlighted that Australian families were paying $1,000 more for fuel annually due to the lack of action on an efficiency standard.

Bowen stated, “We’re giving Australians more choice to spend less on petrol, by catching up with the U.S.– this will save Australian motorists $100 billion in fuel costs to 2050.”

Transport Minister Catherine King emphasized, “The Albanese government favors a model that ensures achievable change, bringing Australia in line with U.S. standards by 2028 and providing optimal cost-benefit outcomes for Australian car buyers.

“The standard increases choice. It doesn’t dictate what sort of car or ute people can buy, but will mean you have a wider range of modern and cheaper to run vehicles.”

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