Aussie auto sales top one million in 2021

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Sales of new cars and trucks in Australia topped one million in 2021 as the industry bounced back from its coronavirus drubbing.

Revealing the figures on Thursday, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries said 1,049,831 vehicles were sold last year - a 14.5 per cent improvement on the 2020 result.

The jump came despite ongoing supply and other issues associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, a persistent shortage of microprocessors, and shipping delays.

While market conditions remained challenging for the sector, companies found ways to adapt with contactless delivery services and staff working from home after the pandemic's initial lockdowns in 2020 left sales tumbling.

"Despite the pandemic restricting access to showrooms in 2021, Australian consumers found ways to purchase new vehicles and did so in solid numbers," FCAI chief executive Tony Weber said.

"Interest, inquiries and intention to buy were all buoyant."

Mr Weber said while it remained difficult to predict what 2022 would bring, all going well, the blockages in the supply chains "should start to unravel".

Toyota was again the market-leading brand last year with 223,642 sales, ahead of Mazda on 101,119 and Hyundai on 72,872.

It was the 19th year in a row the company had taken the title and came after the Japanese car maker ended General Motors' 90-year winning streak in the US.

Toyota also had four of the top five selling vehicles with its HiLux range leading the way, ahead of the Ford Ranger, the Toyota Rav4, the Toyota Corolla and the Toyota Landcruiser.

Sales and marketing vice president Sean Hanley said without making specific forecasts, the company was confident it could increase its sales in 2022.

"We base that on our production schedules and on the market forecasts that we think will still be pretty helpful next year," he said.

"We also base that on the confidence in the order bank that we carry into the market.

"The economy is still very strong in Australia and I don't see any reason that would fall over."

The 2021 market result showed Australia's continued preference for sports utility vehicles which accounted for more than 50 per cent of all sales.

It also demonstrated an increasing demand for electric vehicles with sales rising by 191 per cent last year to 5149.

Mr Weber said while that number might appear impressive, electric vehicles still accounted for just a small percentage of overall sales.

"In this context, we must recognise the policy objective should be to lower our carbon dioxide emissions rather than meeting sales targets of particular types of technology," he said.

"The FCAI maintains the need for national leadership in the form of a technology-agnostic and achievable emissions reduction target.

"Give us the target and we will give you the technology mix to get there."

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