What’s Hot and What’s Not: New Car Sales Before 2022

Inventory shortages have had a major impact on new car sales in 2022, but some makes and models have weathered the storm better than others. Here are the hits and misses.

Auto sales fell in the first half of the year as inventory shortages, plant closures and transportation restrictions choked on new vehicle supply. Wait times for some popular models extend to over a year.

But some creators weather the storm better than others. Here’s what’s hot and what’s not in the first six months of 2022.

IS CALLED

Toyota

Australia’s favorite car brand continues to expand its lead over the rest of the market. More than one in five Australian new car buyers opt for a Toyota and the brand has managed a modest increase in sales this year despite a shortage of its popular RAV4 Hybrid. Wait times for that car now extend to more than 12 months. In June, four of the six best-selling vehicles were Toyotas. The HiLux led the way, posting its highest-ever monthly sales and outselling its closest competitor by more than two-to-one. Toyota’s sales for the first six months were the second highest on record, despite a market that fell 5 percent.

Off-roaders

SUVs have been on the rise for several years now, but since Covid there has been a shift towards true four-wheel drive that can go further off the beaten track. Half of the top ten in June consisted of four-wheel drive. Popular choices include the HiLux, Ford’s Ranger ute and Everest wagon, the Isuzu D-Max and MU-X, and Mitsubishi’s Triton and Pajero Sport. The new Toyota LandCruiser is also selling strongly, as is Nissan’s V8-powered Patrol, which appears to be unaffected by rising fuel prices.

Chinese brands

Sales of Chinese vehicles rose nearly 40 percent in the first half of the year, mainly due to MG’s continued success. The brand has overtaken established names such as Volkswagen, Nissan, Honda and Subaru to climb to seventh place on the sales ladder. Sales are up 25 percent, led by the HS and ZS SUVs and the low-cost MG3. Great Wall Motors sales are up 13 percent.

NOT

Honda

Last July, the Japanese brand took a controversial move to introduce no-hassle price fixing and ban dealers from the sales process. It seems to backfire. While delivery issues have undoubtedly had an effect, sales of the brand fell by nearly a third in the first half of the year. May and June sales were higher than in 2021, but last year was a bad year for the brand. In the first six months of 2020, which was hit by Covid lockdowns, Honda sold more than 16,000 vehicles. Only 7,621 were sold this year. Price increases for the new Civic and HR-V have not helped.

Mazda

Australia’s second most popular brand is struggling to keep up with Toyota this year. Sales are down 17 percent so far and June was a shock – sales fell 50 percent and the brand was sold by Hyundai and Kia. As a result, the gap with Mitsubishi and Kia has been drastically reduced. Sales of the city-focused CX-3 SUV have stalled due to competition from Hyundai’s Venue, Kia’s Stonic and the smashing Suzuki Jimny. Mazda3 sales have also fallen, while the once-dominant SUV of the CX-5 family now plays a distant second fiddle to Toyota’s RAV4. The brand also had a rare sales mistake with its MX-30 hybrid and EV. Year-to-date, only 265 have been sold.

Volkswagen Group

This year was intended to be a bumper year for VW, which has revamped most of its range over the past 12 months. But delivery problems led to an alarming 37.5 percent drop in the first half of the year. The aging Amarok ute, which will soon be replaced, has recorded one of the biggest declines, but the brand’s SUV range has also been hard hit. The news is the same for the luxury arm Audi, which is down 30 percent. Sister brand Skoda has recorded a 42 percent drop in sales. Major price increases across the range have not helped Skoda. The Kamiq’s small SUV was priced from $29,990 to drive when it won News Corp’s Car of the Year award in 2020. Prices now start at $37,990 riding.

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