Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
ABC News
ABC News

New car sales rebound as electric vehicle purchases hit record high, says Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries data. But delivery delays are far from over

New vehicle sales have rebounded almost 20 per cent on last year and electric vehicles have sold at their highest ever levels. 

These are two takeaway points from the latest new vehicle sales figures from the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI). 

Taken at face value, you could be forgiven for thinking it's a sign that supply bottlenecks are easing and Australians are getting more access to electric vehicles (EVs). 

But that's not necessarily the case. 

What are the latest new car sale figures?

A total of 95,256 new vehicles were sold in August.

That's a 17.3 per cent increase on the volume sold in the same month last year.

Of that figure, electric vehicles made up 4.4 per cent of the market, with sought-after manufacturer Tesla selling 3,397 vehicles (more on this figure later). 

So, August had the highest market share for pure battery electric vehicles in a single month in Australia. 

Australians have bought 717,575 new cars so far this year. 

Over this period, EVs make up 2 per cent of the total market, hybrids make up 7.6 per cent and plug in hybrids 0.6 per cent.

This means that combined electric vehicles account for about 10 per cent of sales in Australia so far in 2022.

What does the peak body say?

Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries chief executive Tony Weber says it's a positive result. 

He says last month was the best August result the organisation had seen in five years.

"The August VFacts sales are the best August result since 2017," Mr Weber says.

"This gives hope that the supply of vehicles to the Australian market is beginning to show signs of improvement."

Does this mean long wait times for new cars are over?

Not by a long shot, says CarSales editor-in-chief Mike Sinclair. 

There are a constellation of issues holding up the deliveries of new cars in Australia and across the globe.

"We're still dealing with a massive order bank of new vehicles in the system," Mr Sinclair says. 

Manufacturers are dealing with the global semiconductor shortage, supply chain issues, shipping dramas, the COVID pandemic and war in Ukraine, he says.

“All of that adds up to a fairly long tail before things get back."

When will things go back to normal?

That's hard to answer.

In some cases, delivery dates have stretched out beyond a year. 

"Some of the more popular brands like Toyota are running at 12 and 18 months delivery dates," Mr Sinclair says.

"Some other brands aren't really able to give customers firm build dates for their vehicles because of a lack of information, not because they don't want to, but because of a lack of information from the factories."

Why used car prices could stay up for some time yet(Kathryn Robinson)

Another impact on the long wait times, which Mr Sinclair says isn't often reported, is manufacturers shifting their focus to electrical vehicle production.

"The other challenge is that globally the industry is transitioning to a more EV-based production line," he says.

"That's probably affecting their ability to roll more capital into existing lines, where they prefer to invest in new equipment coming through.

"I'm not sure that's a massive issue, but I'm sure it's one of those many, many issues that have an impact."

So Australia will eventually stop lagging on electric vehicles?

Not until there are incentives for manufacturers to sell EVs in Australia. 

For example, EV cars are cheaper than regular cars in Norway.

"In many markets in Europe, manufacturers have targets related to emissions, which means to meet those standards you have to sell a certain number of EVs," he says.

"If [they] don't, there are massive fines."

So manufacturers with a limited amount of stock sell the cars in countries where they are required to sell more low emission vehicles. 

"Of those limited number of EVs they're building around the globe, they're going to markets where there are incentives and there's also targets to meet — we have neither," Mr Sinclair says.

But didn't Tesla just sell a heap of EVs in Australia?

The problem here is that Tesla doesn't report its sales every month, so there could be a backlog. 

"Not all of those brands report every month," Mr Sinclair says of the FCAI report.

"People are making a lot of noise about Tesla deliveries, and yes they are up a solid number but it's not one month's worth.

"They're suffering the same as everyone.

"They're getting some pretty solid lead times of nine and 12 months depending on vehicle specifications." 

Was there anything else in the report?

Toyota's Hilux was the highest selling model with 6,214 sales reported. 

Next on the list is Ford's Ranger (4,497 sales), followed by Toyota's RAV4 (2,482), Tesla's Model 3 (2,380) and Toyota's Landcruiser (2,379).

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.