What cost-of-living crisis?

by Petrol Mum

With inflation in Australia remaining stubbornly high and most economists predicting another interest rate rise on Melbourne Cup Day next week, consumers have broken yet another new car sales record.

“The Australian new car market has demonstrated incredible strength and vitality throughout 2023, culminating in Australia reaching one million sales in October for the first time,” said FCAI Chief Executive, Tony Weber.

“After some challenging years through COVID, this milestone speaks to the range of vehicles available to consumers, affirming Australia’s position as one of the world’s most dynamic and competitive markets. It also reflects vastly improved supply chains,” continued Mr Weber.

The Ford Ranger was the top selling vehicle recording 6,215 sales. It was followed by Toyota HiLux (5,766), Isuzu Ute D-Max (3,198) Toyota RAV4 (2,598) and Toyota Landcruiser (2561). Toyota was the highest selling marque with 20,298 sales. Mazda followed with 9,316 then Ford (8,605), Hyundai (6,620) and Mitsubishi (6,395).

One of the factors that is impacting on inflation in Australia is the fuel price, which is over $2 per litre in most parts of Australia right now. But new car buyers do not appear to be perturbed by this with 38.3 per cent of sales in October 2023 were either in light commercial utes, large, or upper large SUVs vehicle categories. Conversely, EV sales softened to represent 5.7 per cent of the market.

Kia Carnival Platinum Diesel at the beach
The Kia Carnival is currently the best selling people mover in Australia.

SUV sales still dominate the Australian new car market with a 19.4% increase in the number sold in 2023. But People Movers appear to be making a comeback with an increase in their sales by almost 20% in 2023 with the Kia Carnival being by far the most popular option.

Australia’s love of American trucks also appears to know no bounds with RAM sales up 27.1%, with the greatest increase in sales coming from the largest of the RAM trucks, the RAM 3500. Chevrolet sales are even better, up 50.7% for 2023 compared to 2022, with the larger Silverado 2500 HD sales up 123.2%.

In the world of super car, McLaren have seen the greatest improvement in sales so far in 2023 up 50% on the year to date compared to 2022, with 78 new cars sold. Lamborghini are slightly ahead over Ferrari, with 193 vehicles sold compared to 184 vehicles respectively, which is a 27.8% increase for Lamborghini in 2023. Aston Martin and Bentley have also seen an increase in their sales for 2023, but Rolls-Royce is down with only 39 vehicles sold.

How high can new car sales in Australia go? Or at what point will the cost-of-living crisis bite? The International Monetary Fund’s Concluding Statement for Australia in 2023, which was released last week, states that given the lags in the transmission of monetary policy to growth, the bulk of the impact of rate hikes to date is likely to materialise in the coming quarters. So, the first half of 2024 should provide the answers to these questions.

Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.

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