New vehicle sales in Australia have increased for five consecutive months breaking an all-time August record with 109,966 new purchases, representing a 15.4 percent increase compared to the same time last year.
That is also a 9.9 percent increase in sales across the new car market year-to-date, according to statistics released by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCIA) this week.
FCAI Chief Executive Tony Weber welcomes the back-to-back monthly sales increase as positive news for the industry that is now climbing out of a supply slump.
“The Australian automotive sector continues to demonstrate its strength, with August recording unprecedented sales figures, reflecting both a high level of demand from Australians and improved supply of vehicles,” said Mr. Weber.
The Toyota Hilux took the top spot with 5,762 sales, followed by the Ford Ranger with 5,760 sales.
Electric vehicles also saw a 6.4 percent increase in sales, along with hybrids accounting for a 10.5 percent increase in August.
“As consumers continue to embrace low emissions technologies, we are seeing growth in electric, plug-in and hybrid vehicle sales. More than 1 in 6 vehicles sold in the month of August featured low emissions technologies,” said Mr. Weber.
Go Big or Go Home
Larger American pickup trucks are also gaining popularity in Australia at a time when the government is pushing for greater electric vehicle use.
Some of the larger V8 engines are not known for fuel economy, but despite rising fuel costs, many Australians have not been deterred.
The Dodge Ram pickup had an 85.2 percent increase in sales year-to-date in June, with 1,172 new trucks sold.
Dodge and Ford have also been converting their American pickup trucks to right-hand drive-in factories in Melbourne, giving a boost to the local manufacturing industry.
The increase of the larger American trucks on roads has been blamed on the caravan boom during the COVID-19 pandemic where people were splurging on the $100,000 plus vehicles.
A National Strategy for Electric Vehicles
In a push to get Australians behind the wheel of a zero-emissions electric car, the Labor government introduced the National Electric Vehicle Strategy in May along with plans for the introduction of a Fuel Efficiency Standard.
Currently, Australia and Russia are the only developed countries without fuel efficiency standards.
“This strategy delivers on our commitment to provide greater choice for Australians to drive cars that are cleaner and cheaper to run,” said Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen.
Ford does have an electric F-150 that hopes to capture the ‘tradie’ market and those interested in the larger American trucks, with some models priced as low as $51,632 ($US39,974)
Zero Automotive also claims its all-electric Toyota Landcruiser will have 50 per cent more power than the twin-turbo V8 predecessor, with plans to make 200 vehicles for the Barminco mining company’s fleet in 2024.
“Mining operations across Australia are facing increasing pressure to transition their fleets to meet ESG targets, and the Zero ZED70 Ti represents a new opportunity to do this in the light commercial space,” said CarBon Leasing & Rentals CEO Scott Gillespie.