Australia’s best selling cars in 2023

Australians bought more cars in 2023 than any other year to date. But some brands carved off a bigger slice of the record pie and others were left wanting more.

Here are the cars and brands that Australians loved and fell out of love with in 2023.

HOT

FORD

The Ford Ranger was the best selling vehicle in the country last year, knocking the Toyota HiLux off the perch it held for the past seven years.

Ford sold more than 63,000 Rangers in the past 12 months, outselling the HiLux by more than 2000 units.

The Ranger was developed and designed in Australia at the company’s Broadmeadows facility and is a success story for the local car industry, which ended production at the close of last decade.

Ford’s sales were up more than 30 per cent for the year and the strong result also made it the third highest selling car brand in the nation, leapfrogging Hyundai and Kia.

CHINESE BRANDS

Chinese cars are officially mainstream. Aussie buyers are voting with their wallets. Sales of BYD, GWM, Haval, MG and LDV skyrocketed in the past 12 months.

These brands have now been on sale in Australia for several years and they keep drawing in new customers with sharp prices, masses of standard equipment and long warranties.

Sales of Chinese-built cars were up 57 per cent last year.

MG is the strongest performer, growing more than 17 per cent in the past 12 months and establishing itself as the seventh best selling car brand in the country. The strong sales result was driven by the ZS small SUV and 3 hatchback.

BYD is taking advantage of the groundswell of support for electric cars with sales of its electric-only line-up growing by almost 500 per cent in 2023. The company’s fortunes are expected to grow even further in 2024 with the recently launched new Dolphin hatchback and Seal sedan. BYD is also bringing a plug-in hybrid ute and SUV to Australia next year.

GWM and its SUV offshoot Haval moved about 11,000 more vehicles in 2023 than the previous year and commercial vehicle focused LDV grew by 30 per cent.

China’s also turning into a manufacturing powerhouse, building cars from BMW, Polestar, Tesla and Volvo among others for Australia. China is now the third biggest exporter of cars to Australia after overtaking Korea and Germany.

ELECTRIC CARS

Electric cars were a hit in 2023. Sales of the zero-emissions machines grew by more than 160 per cent through the year.

Tesla was the main source of growth, with sales of the Model Y SUV accelerating at an astronomical rate of more than 230 per cent.

The Model Y was the sixth highest selling vehicle in the country and was only slightly behind the Toyota RAV4 as the best selling non-ute in the country. It mades up more than half last year’s EV sales.

Booming Chinese brand BYD had a cracking year and it has even bigger plans for 2024 with a more complete line-up of vehicles.

There are plenty of electric cars arriving in the next 12 months from some of the world‘s biggest car makers such as Volkswagen and Toyota.

NOT

MERCEDES-BENZ

The German brand is no longer Australia’s favourite luxury car brand, ending decades of dominance. Not long ago Mercedes-Benz was on the cusp of being a top 10 selling brand but now BMW is the new king of luxury Down Under, if you take out the commercial vehicles sold by Benz.

Sales of Mercedes-Benz cars were down about nine per cent for the past year, which looks worse in a record year where Audi, BMW, Lexus, Porsche and Volvo all grew their sales.

The move coincides with the brand’s move to an agency model in Australia, where all stock is owned by head office, prices are non-negotiable and dealers are there to deliver and service cars. Honda also made a similar move and its sales were down 3.4 per cent.

TOYOTA

Despite having the second best selling vehicle in the country and being the number one selling brand by a country mile, last year can’t be considered a success by Toyota’s lofty standards.

In a year when Australians bought a record number of cars Toyota’s market share dropped as sales shrunk.

Other brands have fixed supply issues but Toyota is still struggling to fill back orders. Wait times for popular models stretch out beyond 12 months and the brand is not taking orders on some models until supply is running freely again.

Toyota believes things will drastically improve in the next 12 months but they missed an opportunity to sell boatloads of cars in 2023.

MITSUBISHI

The Japanese brand has one of the oldest line-up of cars in Australia. The platforms that underpin the ASX and Eclipse Cross small SUVs, Pajero Sport 4WD and Triton Ute are all more than 10 years old.

As a result sales dropped by more than 17 per cent in a market up by 12.5 per cent.

The newest car in the company’s range is the Outlander and it was the company’s strongest performer selling more than 24,000 units, which is good enough for eighth spot in the top 10 sellers list.

Help is on the way, though. Mitsubishi is launching a new version of the Triton ute early this year that is more rugged, powerful and capable than before.

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