Detailed Breakdown of the Australian Car Market 2024

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According to, there are some 17,158,195 cars right now in Australia. This means that almost 93% of households own a car.

Considering the vast size of the country and that public transport is almost non-existent in certain parts of the Great Southern Land, this shouldn’t be all that surprising. After all the nation’s population of 25 million people needs to get around.

However, what may surprise you is that when you consider car market share per capita, it becomes clear that Australia is a significant player on the world car market stage.

Sure, China might sell more cars every year than we have as a population of people, but few other countries in the world, with a population of at least as big as ours can boast such a remarkable number of cars per person.

Moreover, despite there being a decline in sales recently, due to Covid-19 and the general high cost of living, it’s fair to say the Aussie car market continues to punch above its weight.

In this article, we will take a deeper dive into the Australian Car Market to highlight its overall importance on the global scheme of things. By showcasing more trends that define it, you’ll get to see that we are not just an afterthought in the minds of the major car companies around the world.


How many new cars are sold in Australia each year?

In Australia, annual car sales are influenced by various factors such as economic conditions, consumer confidence, and changes in government policies. So, historically, due to these variables, the country has seen fluctuations when it comes to car sales .

That said, Aussies have bought almost 1.1 million cars every year for the past seven years in Australia. Infact, even in 2019, when lockdowns and Covid were in full swing, we still bought 1,062,867 new cars – although that represented a dip of 7.8% in sales.

All up, new car sales figures in Australia add up to more than 8.0 million new cars in just seven years. Thus with a population of 25 million people, it means more than 30% of our population bought a brand-new vehicle. If we include non-drivers such as children under the age of 16, the elderly and those with physical limitations and special needs, the percentage of new car owners in the last eight years is probably even higher. In fact, data from the ABS, released in 2017, suggested there are approximately 775 motor vehicles per 1000 people in Australia.


Worrying Trend

While the new sales figures for the Australian automotive industry in 2019 proved the country’s new car market, while slowing, remained about on-par with our now regular annual seven-figure feat, it belies the fact that, there are some worrying trends emerging.

For example, in the 12 months to December 2019, new car sales Down Under dipped by almost eight percent. That in itself isn’t worrying given the fact that Covid-19 restrictions were in place – except that 2018 figures were down on 2017, which in turn were down on 2016 figures too.

Subsequently, it shows there is a continuing downward trend in the new-car market that should not be ignored. Indeed, many fear the worst is yet to come, with factors like stagnating wage growth and an effective retail recession pushing consumer confidence ever lower.


Top Selling cars in Australia

According to data from UBS, the number of luxury or premium cars sold in Australia has steadily increased since the year 2000, at an annual growth rate of around 6.6 per cent per year.

In 2000, premium and luxury cars comprised roughly 18 per cent of the total market. However, these numbers are rapidly changing. That said, although the mainstream market is, for the most part, maintaining its levels (bar a slight drop), it’s the perennial luxury darlings of the new-car world that are now taking the biggest hit.

A look at Australian car sales statistics by manufacturers reveals that Audi’s sales have dropped by 11.8% so far this year. Even more galling is that Land Rover is down 23.1% and Mercedes-Benz is down 13.1%. While BMW (2.4%) and Lexus (0.2%) are both down too.

Overall, Toyota and Mazda are the top selling manufacturers in Australia. Out of the more upscale players only Alfa Romeo has achieved positive growth over the last few years, mainly due to it being a recently launched brand with a relatively small starting fan base.


Car Sales by manufacturer in Australia

Interestingly, the roll call of car brands in Australia that have sold the most vehicles has remained largely unchanged for many years – other than Ford and Holden.

For instance, in 2018, Toyota held its position at the top, selling a total of 217,061 cars, which represented an increase of about 0.2% on the 216,566 units it sold in the previous year. Mazda came in second place with 111,280 units sold – but that was down from 116,349 in 2017.

Coming in third was Hyundai, selling 94,187 cars, which wasn’t all that far off the 97,013 it sold in 2017. At the same time, Mitsubishi took out fourth place, selling 84,944 cars, and enjoying an increase of 5.3% in terms of volume of sales.

This was not the case for Ford, in fifth place, who recorded a decline of over 11%, selling 69,081 vehicles compared to 78,161 units sold in the previous 12 months. Indeed, it seems to be a tough time for former Australian car manufacturers, with Holden in sixth place enduring another year of poor performance by selling only 60,751 cars in 2018. This represented a massive decline of over 32% from the same period the previous year.


Car Sales by brand in Australia

Currently, the top-selling cars in Australia are all light-commercial vehicles and SUVs. Of the top 10 models in 2018, not one was a full-size sedan, and only three were passenger cars – unimaginable even a decade ago. It seems the era of passenger cars could be coming to an end.

Overall, in terms of car sales by brand in Australia, the Toyota HiLux comes in first place, selling a whopping 51,705 cars so far this year, followed by the Ford Ranger with 42,144 sold. Meanwhile, the Toyota Corolla and Mazda3 ranked third and fourth, respectively, while the Hyundai i30 came in fifth place.

The Mazda CX-5 is the first SUV to appear in the top 10, ranking sixth, followed by the Mitsubishi Triton and Toyota RAV4 in seventh and eighth respectively. Round off the list at nine is the Nissan X-Trail, and lastly at then, the Hyundai Tucson.


Used Car Sales Statistics Australia 2023

In 2021, the Used Car Market in Australia was valued at USD $37.68 billion. By 2027, it is projected to reach somewhere around the USD $53.87 billion mark.

This projection seems to be on track, if the most recent data provided by Cox Automotive Australia is anything to go by. They suggested, there was a 6.9% increase in used vehicle sales by dealers in August 2023, as compared to the previous month. When compared to last year, there was a 13.6% increase in sales.

Furthermore, as the supply of new vehicles has improved, it has led to an increase in second-hand stock arriving in dealerships. This has resulted in a rise of 1.3% in active used and demo dealer listings in August, which is about 22.5% higher than at the same time last year, and 31.9% higher than the beginning of 2023.

These factors have contributed to a decrease in the prices of used vehicles, as compared to the record highs seen in 2022. However, the price decrease does vary significantly depending on the vehicle type and age bracket.


Electric Vehicles in Australia 2023

In the past year, interest in electric vehicles has increased significantly, possibly due in part to the high price of petrol, which has regularly topped AUS $2 a litre in several parts of the country.

While Australia still needs to work towards reducing their emissions, there are positive signs that demand for EVs in the light vehicle market can help them achieve this.

So far in 2023, 8.4% of all new cars sold have been EVs, which is a 120% increase from all of 2022. However, it’s important to note that the majority of EV sales come from only three models – Tesla Model Y, Tesla Model 3, BYD Atto 3 -, which make up over 68% of the EV market. This is due, in part, to supply and demand though.

Although there are now 91 electric car, van, and ute models available in Australia, most of these are only supplied in small volumes. This is due to the absence of a New Vehicle Efficiency Standard in Australia, which would ensure that car manufacturers increase the supply of EVs to the country. However, this should soon change as recently, the Electric Vehicle Council submitted a proposal to the Australian Government for a standard specifically designed for Australia.

It’s estimated that there are now approximately 130,000 EVs on Australia’s roads, consisting of around 109,000 BEVs and about 21,000 PHEVs. If Electric Vehicles continue to sell at similar rates for, the fleet should number around 225,000 by the end of next year.


Other Statistics

Here are some other statistics that relate to the Australian Car Market.

  • On average, Aussies drive about 14,000km every year. Given that there are over 17 million vehicles in the country right now, that equates to a collective distance of 238 billion km – a distance that can take you to Pluto and back almost 20 times.
  • So far this year, there have been over 1250 fatalities on the road. This represents an increase of 6.3%.
  • The Northern Territory owns the dubious distinction of having the most fatalities per person in Australia, more than double that of Western Australia, which is the next highest state, Western Australia. The safest state is Victoria, although the Australian Capital Territory enjoys an even better record.
  • 1 in every 16 cars in Australia is recorded as a write-off.
  • A car is stolen every 9 minutes in Australia