Australian motorists have smashed vehicle sales records, snapping up more than 109,000 new cars during one month in a spending spree fuelled by SUVs and utes.
New car sales in the month of August soared by more than 15 per cent compared to last year, according to the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, with sales of SUVs up by more than 25 per cent.
But electric vehicle sales fell slightly compared to earlier in the year, and the country’s most popular battery-powered car, the Tesla Model Y, fell out of Australia’s list of top-five list.
The August sales record is the second month in a row that Australians have set a car-buying record.
FCAI chief executive Tony Weber said the result showed supply issues encountered during the COVID pandemic were easing and demand from consumers remained high.
“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,” he said.
“Year-to-date sales have increased 9.9 per cent, which is a better indicator of the underlying strength of the market.”
FCAI figures showed Australians bought 109,966 new vehicles during August – an additional 14,710 vehicles sold than in August last year.
The data shows consumers are buying different types of vehicles this year, however, with sales of sports utility vehicles rising 28 per cent, and light commercial vehicle sales up 6.9 per cent.
But sales of passenger vehicles were down by 3.3 per cent.
Electric vehicles accounted for 6.4 per cent of all new car sales in August, down from seven per cent in July and 8.3 per cent during the first six months of the year.
Australia’s top-selling electric car, the Tesla Model Y, also became the eighth most popular vehicle in the country, with 2314 sales, down from fourth spot in July when it made 3,330 sales.
Hybrid vehicles made up 10.5 per cent of new cars sold.
"As consumers continue to embrace low-emissions technologies, we are seeing growth in electric, plug-in and hybrid vehicle sales,” Mr Weber said.
“More than one in six vehicles sold in the month of August featured low-emissions technologies.”
Australia’s top 10 vehicles were dominated by utes in August, with the Toyota HiLux earning top place, followed by the Ford Ranger in second, and the Isuzu D-Max ute earning fourth place.
SUVs from Toyota and MG filled out the top five spots.
Toyota remained Australia’s best-selling car brand, followed by Mazda, Ford, Kia and Hyundai.