VFACTS: Car Sales Cross One Million in October for the First Time

For the first time in Australian automotive history, the total number of new car sales has passed one million in October, as revealed by new VFACTS data released by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries last week.

It was another strong month for new car sales in October, with the 106,809 units registered as sold being 22.3% greater than last year and breaking the previous monthly record. In the process, it became the fifth month out of the last six to break a record, following July (96,859), August (109,966) and September (110,702) in this financial year to date.

Most notably, however, the year-to-date (YTD) car sales now sit at 1,006,095 despite still having two months to run until the end of 2023. The number of cars sold at this stage of last year was 898,429, meaning we’re 12.0% and over 100,000 units ahead of 2022 right now.

This is the key number to watch between now and the end of the year, as the industry is positioned to beat out the all-time annual car sales record of 1,189,116, which was set back in 2017.

It was a good month across all market segments, with SUVs again being the most popular car in Australia at 59,259 (+22.3%) and making up 55.5% of the market. However, light commercial vehicles also saw substantial growth, with 25,681 new cars sold (+19.7%) increasing its market share to 24.0%.

While passenger (17,616, +32.2%) and heavy commercial vehicles (4,253, +4.5%) also grew, establishing respective market shares of 16.5% and 4.0%, the same can’t be said for electric vehicles, which slid from 8.0% of the market in September to 5.7% last month. The trend of growth across all the states and territories this financial year also continued, with Victoria seeing the most substantial growth at 32.0% and New South Wales (+22.8%), Tasmania (+20.8%) and South Australia (+20.0%) all trending upwards.

Market sales: October 2023

CategoryOctober sales% change vs 2022Market share %
Light commercial25,68119.724.0
Heavy commercial4,2534.54.0
Source: VFACTS, October 2023

Vehicle sales by state or territory: October 2023

State/territoryOctober sales% change vs 2022
New South Wales33,00122.8
Western Australia10,16612.3
South Australia6,67720.0
Australian Capital Territory1,55218.9
Northern Territory7401.9
Source: VFACTS, October 2023

Vehicle brands: October

Toyota recorded its third successive month of growth on 2022’s figures, with the 20,298 new car sales registered coming at 11.2% more than the equivalent period last year and taking out top honours once again.

It was a massive month for Mazda, who consolidated second spot in the rankings with 9,316 units in October. This represents an increase of 61.3% compared to last year and was successful in putting some distance between it and third-placed Ford, who it beat out by just 16 units in September.

The American manufacturer still managed to stay within just over 700 units of Mazda, registering 8,605 new car sales at a rate 10.0% more than in 2022 and, importantly, establishing a buffer of almost 2,000 between it and the rest of the pack.

One of the big stories of the month, however, was Kia’s significant slide in sales. Having been a mainstay in the top five best-sellers’ list over the past few years, it only managed 5,647 in October (-11.5%) and tumbled to seventh overall.

Between Ford and Kia, competition was hotly contested. Only just over 500 cars separated Hyundai (6,620, +25.2%), Mitsubishi (6,395, +6.9%) and MG (6,102, +21.3%). The top ten for the month was rounded out by Volkswagen (4,361, +36.3%), Isuzu Ute (4,160, +45.2%) and the much-improved Nissan (3,756, +201.2%).

One notable absentee from this list is Tesla, which also fell from eighth in September to 15th last month, despite still recording an increase of 79.3% compared to last year. This appears to be a symptom of shipping schedules, rather than evidence of a lack of popularity.

Unsurprisingly, Toyota remains well clear of the rest of the competition in YTD sales, although it’s still 10.1% behind where it was at the same stage of 2022. Also unsurprising is Mazda keeping a firm hold of second place with 84,536 (+6.1), placing it within striking distance of a tilt at 100,000 cars sold over the year.

Ford (69,809, +31.0%) has now opened up a lead of over 5,000 over fourth-placed Kia (64,770, -2.7%), making it difficult for the Korean automaker to make up that ground with just two months to go. Its parent company Hyundai also closed the gap to around 1,200 (63,578, +0.3%) to round out the top five.

Tesla’s down month may have left it with too much to do to catch MG, which now holds a lead of just under 9,000 units in seventh place, while Subaru is now only 1,300 behind in ninth.

Best-selling vehicle brands: October 2023

BrandOctober sales% change vs 2022
Isuzu Ute4,16045.2
Source: VFACTS, October 2023

Best-selling vehicle brands: YTD 2023

Brand2023 sales% change vs 2022
Isuzu Ute36,50121.6
Source: VFACTS, October 2023

Vehicle models: October

The Ford Ranger took out top honours for models sales across October, beating out the Toyota HiLux after two months playing second fiddle with a strong haul of 6,215 new registrations (+10.4%). The HiLux, meanwhile, was around 450 units back at 5,766, albeit with a greater increase of 18.1%.

It was a monster month for the Isuzu Ute D-Max, which jumped into the top three for the first time on the back of 3,198 units sold (+63.9%). This also fell just short of its all-time sales record in a single month, which came in August of this year.

Fourth to sixth were only able to be split by less than 90 cars, as the Toyota RAV4 (2,598, -19.4%) and MG ZS (2,537, +10.6%) pipped the Mazda CX-5 (2,509, +6.7%) into the top five, the latter of which rose into the top ten after missing out the month prior.

After finishing third overall in September, Tesla’s Model Y was nowhere to be seen in October, only selling just over 800 units. Alongside the Toyota Corolla and Kia Sportage, it was replaced in the best-sellers’ list by the Toyota Prado (2,320, +58.8%) and Hyundai Tucson (1,762, +6.5%).

In terms of YTD sales, the HiLux and Ranger battle has been raging all year, but it’s going right down to the wire after the Ranger’s win in October. With two months to go, the two are only split by just under 800 units, with the HiLux holding the slender advantage.

However, the competition between the chasing pack is just as interesting, with the ZS currently holding onto third but with the RAV4, D-Max and Model Y all close behind. Although the Model Y slide from third to sixth in the space of a month, everything is close enough for any of those four to end up on top by the end of the year.

Best-selling vehicle models: October 2023

ModelOctober sales% change vs 2022
Ford Ranger6,21510.4
Toyota HiLux5,76618.1
Isuzu Ute D-Max3,19863.9
Toyota RAV42,598-19.4
MG ZS2,53710.6
Mazda CX-52,5096.7
Toyota Prado2,32058.8
Mitsubishi Outlander2,23838.2
Ford Everest1,80341.9
Hyundai Tucson1,7626.5
Source: VFACTS, October 2023

Best-selling vehicle models: YTD 2023

Brand2023 sales% change vs 2022
Toyota HiLux50,067-8.4
Ford Ranger49,28830.6
MG ZS25,68957.0
Toyota RAV424,986-17.7
Isuzu Ute D-Max24,67716.4
Tesla Model Y24,267276.1
Mitsubishi Outlander20,00028.0
Mazda CX-519,404-17.4
Hyundai i3018,013-3.5
Hyundai Tucson17,93523.7
Source: VFACTS, October 2023


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