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2023 car sales: China triumphs in Australia as Germany’s EVs lose steam

2023 car sales: China triumphs in Australia as Germany’s EVs lose steam
2023 car sales: China triumphs in Australia as Germany’s EVs lose steam

In a year filled with automotive milestones, 2023 saw Chinese car sales skyrocket in Australia, and even surpass South Korean imports for the first time. Meanwhile in Europe, electric vehicle (EV) car sales took a nose dive in Germany, despite sales in general rising throughout the year. 

According to the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), the Australian automotive market broke all-time records for new vehicle sales in 2023.

Rising tide of Chinese cars in Australia

A total of 1,216,780 cars were sold and delivered in Australia last year, beating the previous record of 1,189,116 units sold in 2017. Battery-powered EVs made up 7.2% of sales (196,868 vehicles sold.)

The top sellers in Australia for 2023 were: 

  • Ford Ranger.
  • Toyota HiLux.
  • Isuzu Ute D-Max.
  • Toyota RAV4.
  • MG ZS. 

FCAI chief executive Tony Weber says these figures highlight the competitive nature of Australia’s automotive industry. “This extraordinary result is a testament to the adaptability and resilience of both industry players and consumers alike.”

“Despite the supply chain disruptions faced in recent times, consumers now have greater access to a broad range of choices, fostering increased accessibility in the market,” says Weber.

German car sales a mixed bag

Meanwhile in Germany, Europe’s largest economy, a total of 2.8 million new cars were sold in 2023. This is a year-on-year (YoY) increase of 7.3%, according to Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt, the country’s federal motor transport authority.

Petrol vehicles were the most popular during this period, with an increase of 13.3%, or 979,000 vehicles. While petrol- and diesel-powered vehicle sales surged, battery-powered vehicles showed a modest increase to 524,000, while sales of hybrid models halved to 176,000.

In addition, alternative drive vehicle registrations – including electric, hybrid, plug-in, fuel cell, and gas-powered cars – increased by 13.6% from 2022.

The bigger picture

Germany’s motor transport authority says government’s withdrawal of subsidy programs for electric and hybrid vehicles had an impact on sales. It also notes the challenges brought on by the country’s high inflation and weak economic growth.

The automotive industry is undergoing a significant transformation and 2024 is set to be another challenging year for Germany vehicle sales. At the same time, Australia’s record-breaking milestones show the growing impact of Chinese manufacturers on the global scene. 

Now more than ever, manufacturers need to pay attention to changing consumer preferences, technology and automotive advancements, and the economic factors that shape mobility. 

About the author

Cheryl has contributed to various international publications, with a fervor for data and technology. She explores the intersection of emerging tech trends with logistics, focusing on how digital innovations are reshaping industries on a global scale. When she's not dissecting the latest developments in AI-driven innovation and digital solutions, Cheryl can be found gaming, kickboxing, or navigating the novel niches of consumer gadgetry.

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