With the unpredictable year of 2021 finally closed, ACA Research takes a step back and looks at how new vehicle sales have performed

In total, there were 1,049,831 vehicles sold throughout 2021, representing a 14.5 percent increase to 2020. While this is just 13,000 less than 2019, it still lags the 2018 result by more than 100,000 sales, reflecting the ongoing impact of microprocessor shortages on global supply chains, and restricted access to dealerships through the pandemic.
Despite this, there are some positive elements to take away, with a number of manufacturers recording strong results. It is no surprise to see Toyota again claim the top spot, with its 223,642 sales making up 21.3 percent of the market share. Mazda came in second with 101,119 sales at 9.6 percent market share, while Hyundai (72,872 sales) finished just 1,492 sales ahead of Ford (71,380 sales) in fourth place.
Looking at the top 10 models sold, we can see a noticeable shift in consumer behavior. Four Utes made the top 10 in 2021, and by doing so, overtook the number of passenger vehicles in the top 10 for the first time in Australian Automotive history.
Most notably, as highlighted below, the Toyota Hilux continued its domination of the market, capturing the top position for a sixth year in a row. Just behind, ranking second for the fifth year in a row, was the Ford Ranger, with Toyota’s RAV4 Corolla claiming the third and fourth positions respectively. With that said, if the Ranger had managed just 2,523 more sales, it would have overtaken the Hilux and made it the first time in 26 years that a Ford claimed the top spot.

Figure One. Source: VFACTS

A clear absentee from the top 10 list is the Holden Commodore; a vehicle which is still the most common in Australia’s car parc – with 808,591 vehicles in 2021 (based on ABS data). It sits more than 50,000 ahead of the closest competitor in the Toyota Hilux, with 754,662 vehicles registered. Given GM’s decision to retire the Holden brand and wind down operations in Australia, the number of Commodores on Australian roads will continue to decline, but when will it be overtaken as the most popular vehicle on Australian roads?
As seen below, we predict that the Toyota Hilux will become the most common vehicle in Australia midway through 2022, with the Toyota Corolla also overtaking the Commodore over the next 12 months. Looking even further ahead, by the year 2026, we expect to see the Commodore drop to sixth most registered vehicle in Australia, with the Toyota Landcruiser, Mazda 3 and Ford Ranger all overtaking it, and giving us a top five of Toyota Hilux, Toyota Corolla, Toyota Landcruiser, Mazda 3 and the Ford Ranger.

Figure Two. Source: ABS

So, what decisions can be made off the back of this?
Based on these insights, mechanics may have a better understanding of the cars that are likely to turn up in their workshops, informing training needs, and investment in tools and equipment.
Flowing on from this, manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers will have a better idea of the parts that will be needed to service these vehicles, and how production and supply might need to ramp up or down over time.
Ultimately, the effective use of data is key, particularly now as the economy resets off the back of an incredibly turbulent couple of years.

This column was prepared for AAA Magazine by ACA Research, the AAAA’s partners in the AAAA Aftermarket Dashboard which is delivered to AAAA members each quarter.

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