Car sales break records but industry warns of slow down

Australian drivers have smashed car sales records again, buying more than 112,000 new vehicles in a month as part of a trend experts called “extraordinary”.

But the November sales hike, revealed in data from the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries on Tuesday, may not continue into the new year as consumers face greater cost-of-living pressures.

The sales figures follow a succession of record-breaking new vehicle purchases this year in which Australians have bought more than 1.1 million new cars.

The result also showed a jump in electric vehicle sales, with battery-powered cars representing 7.7 per cent of sales during November, up from 5.7 per cent in October.

Chamber chief executive Tony Weber says strong demand for new cars across the board shows the strength of the automotive industry and proved it had overcome supply shortages experienced during the COVID pandemic.

“This is an extraordinary result in what is now likely to be an extraordinary, record-breaking year,” he said.

“As the challenges of the past year’s supply chain disruptions recede, consumers have greater access to a broad range of choices and increased accessibility in the market.”

November car sales soared by almost 18 per cent compared to 2022, registering another 663 new car sales each day on average.

SUVs were the most popular purchases in the month, making up more than half of all sales and rising by 19 per cent on last year, followed by light commercial vehicles or utes, which rose by 24 per cent, and passenger vehicles, up 10 per cent.

Tesla’s Model Y became the fourth best-selling vehicle for the month, returning to the top 10 after a brief drop in popularity and supply.

Its return capped a positive month for electric vehicle sales, with more than 8600 sold during November and more than 80,000 sold throughout 2023 – 52,120 more EVs sold during the same period last year.

Hybrid vehicle sales also experienced a sales jump in 2023, with more than 9600 claimed in November and more than 88,000 during the year.

But Mr Weber warned that Australia’s record sales growth may not continue into 2024 as consumers trimmed household budgets following 13 interest rate rises since May 2022 and high inflation.

“As cost-of-living pressures hit, we may see a market cooling in the coming months and we anticipate a more challenging 2024,” he said.


Jennifer Dudley-Nicholson
(Australian Associated Press)


Like This