VFACTS: 2023 Sets New Car Sales Record, Ranger Tops Charts

The record for total new car sales across a single year in Australia was broken in December, while the Ford Ranger emphatically claimed the title of best-selling car model.

December marked the end of a successful year for the Australian automotive industry, with a record 1,216,780 new vehicles registered as sold across 2023, according to the latest VFACTS data released by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries.

This total surpassed the previous record of 1,189,116, which was set in 2017, and comes against a backdrop of supply finally beginning to meet demand following the adverse impacts of the pandemic.

It’s important to note, though, that new challenges such as rising inflation and cost-of-living pressures are likely to lead to a drop in the demand seen over 2021 and 2022, which was when many of 2023’s orders were placed.

Toyota reigned supreme for the 21st successive year, shifting units in the order of hundreds of thousands to claim its crown once again.

However, the biggest story was the Ford Ranger, which became the first model to beat out the Toyota HiLux as the best-selling car in Australia in seven years.

It was a big year for battery electric, plug-in hybrid and hybrid vehicles, which accounted for 16.2% of all cars sold (196,868), with battery electric sales (80,217, 7.2% of all sales) more than double the number seen in 2022 (33,410, 3.1%).

The popularity of SUVs continued to grow, with an overall market share of just under 56% for the year (679,462, +18.2%) representing a notable increase compared to last year’s 53.1%.

Both light commercial (274,185, +6.9%) and passenger vehicles (211,361, +4.1%) saw increases on last year’s numbers but experienced a drop in market share, from 23.7% to 22.5% and 18.8% to 17.4%, respectively.

All states and territories saw ample growth on their annual totals from 2022, with all bar one seeing an increase upwards of 10% and four of these being above 13.5%.

In terms of monthly figures, December saw 98,544 new cars registered as sold, which is 12.1% higher than last year but short of breaking a record (as was achieved six times in a seven-month stretch in 2023 which included November, October and September).

Market sales: December 2023

CategoryDecember sales% change vs 2022Market share %
Light commercial25,63931.226.0
Heavy commercial4,38519.24.4
Source: VFACTS, December 2023

Total market sales: 2023

Category2023 sales% change vs 2022Market share %
Light commercial274,1856.922.5
Heavy commercial51,7729.34.3
Source: VFACTS, December 2023

Vehicle sales by state or territory: December 2023

State/territoryDecember sales% change vs 2022
New South Wales28,67511.2
Western Australia9,85014.1
South Australia7,13526.3
Australian Capital Territory1,3406.9
Northern Territory7435.1
Source: VFACTS, December 2023

Total vehicle sales by state or territory: 2023

State/territory2023 sales% change vs 2022
New South Wales374,43210.8
Western Australia124,63017.7
South Australia79,00913.9
Australian Capital Territory18,53114.2
Northern Territory10,2674.2
Source: VFACTS, December 2023

Vehicle brands: December

2023 marked the 21st consecutive year of Toyota dominance in Australia, with the 215,240 new cars sold across the year placing it well out in front of the chasing pack once again, albeit still 6.8% lower than its 2022 haul.

It ended on a firm high note in December, with its 19,281 registrations representing an increase of 18.5% compared to the same period the year prior.

Despite a lacklustre end to the year in which its sales fell by 20.4% (6,765) and slipped to third in the monthly charts, Mazda did just enough to scrape over the 100,000 barrier by eight units, which is a modest increase of 4.5% compared to 2022’s total.

Ford ended the year with a flurry, no doubt spurred on by the Ranger’s competition with the HiLux, to leap into second place in December with 9,826 new cars sold (+59.4%).

This helped firmly cement itself in the top three best-selling manufacturers for the year, ending with 87,800, which was 31.8% higher than what it was able to manage across 2022.

It was also a tight-fought battle between Hyundai and its subsidiary Kia, with the little sister of the South Korean brand eventually winning out by just shy of 1,000 units (76,120 to 75,183) to round out the top five for the year.

Kia also claimed fourth place in the monthly standings with 5,583 units sold (-0.8%), while Hyundai slipped to sixth (4,887, +10.2%).

 Mitsubishi (63,511, -17.5%) finished sixth overall and fifth in the monthly standings (5,134, +4.2%), comfortably ahead of MG (58,346, +17.7%) who dropped to ninth in the December rankings (3,834, -26.2%).

However, the most fascinating battle in the year-to-date (YTD) sales came between Tesla, Subaru and Isuzu Ute. Despite a disappointing month for the American electric vehicle manufacturer in which it plummeted out of the top ten (2,192, -3.3%), it did enough to hold off Subaru by just two cars (46,116 to 46,114) and Isuzu Ute by less than 800 (45,341).

Despite experiencing significant growth on their numbers from last year, Volkswagen just missed out on the top ten (43,821, +41.6%), as did Nissan (39,376, +48.6%) and GWM (36,397, +45.3%).

Finally, there was a rare appearance in the top ten by GWM, which rose to eighth off the back of 3,862 new car registrations (+17.2%)

Best-selling vehicle brands: December 2023

BrandDecember sales% change vs 2022
Isuzu Ute3,98759.2
Source: VFACTS, December 2023

Best-selling vehicle brands: 2023

Brand2023 sales% change vs 2022
Isuzu Ute45,34128.4
Source: VFACTS, December 2023

Vehicle models: December

For the first time in seven years, the Toyota HiLux wasn’t the best-selling model in Australia, with a monster December by the Ford Ranger seeing it defeat all comers and claim top spot for 2023 with 63,356 units shifted (+33.4%).

Entering the final month of the year, the HiLux held a slender advantage over the Ranger at the top of the charts (55,968 to 55,589), but the Ranger’s enormous 7,767 new car registrations (+66.6%) crushed those of its Toyota rival (5,143, +2.4%) to leapfrog it and streak ahead by over 2,000 vehicles.

Notably, it’s the first annual win by a Ford model in almost 30 years, with the Falcon EF the last car to rise to the top of the rankings back in 1995, beating out the Holden Commodore VR/VS in the process back in 1995.

The Isuzu Ute D-Max also ended the year strongly, claiming third spot overall both in the monthly charts (2,833, +81.5%) and overall (31,202, +28.2%), which is particularly impressive given it sat in sixth as recently as September.

The RAV4 was one of two further Toyota models in the top ten, claiming fourth place with 29,627 (-15.0%), while the Prado entered the top ten YTD sellers for the first time in December to sneak in with 20,710 (-1.9%) just ahead of the Hyundai i30.

This comes off the back of a month dominated by Toyota model sales, with the HiLux, Prado (2,475, +155.2%), RAV4 (2,192, -0.1%) and Corolla (1,888, +2.4%) all finishing in the top six.

Having both featured in the top three in YTD sales for decent portions of the year, the MG ZS ultimately dropped to fifth (29,258, +30.2%) after a disappointing December in which it fell to ninth (1,522, -50.2%), while the Tesla Model Y ended the year in sixth overall (28,769, +230.0%).

The Mitsubishi Outlander claimed seventh spot (24,283, +24.2%), followed by the Mazda CX-5 (23,083, -14.7%) and Hyundai Tucson (21,224, +18.8%).

There were a couple of new players who entered the fray in the last month of the year, with the Kia Sportage (1,546, +6.5%) and Ford Everest (1,496, +61.6%) both doing enough to end 2023 with a top ten monthly finish.

Best-selling vehicle models: December 2023

ModelDecember sales% change vs 2022
Ford Ranger7,76766.6
Toyota HiLux5,1432.4
Isuzu D-Max2,83381.5
Toyota Prado2,475155.2
Toyota RAV42,192-0.1
Toyota Corolla1,8882.4
Mitsubishi Outlander1,882-8.3
Kia Sportage1,5466.5
MG ZS1,522-50.2
Ford Everest1,49661.6
Source: VFACTS, December 2023

Best-selling vehicle models: 2023

Model2023 sales% change vs 2022
Ford Ranger63,35633.4
Toyota HiLux61,111-5.1
Isuzu D-Max31,20228.2
Toyota RAV429,627-15.0
MG ZS29,25830.2
Tesla Model Y28,769230.0
Mitsubishi Outlander24,28324.2
Mazda CX-523,083-14.7
Hyundai Tucson21,22418.8
Toyota Prado20,710-1.9
Source: VFACTS, December 2023


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