There are more than 20 million registered cars on the roads in Australia as of January 2021, according to the ABS. Data from the 2021 Census notes that, on average, there are 784 road vehicles for every 1,000 people. If you break that down further, that’s an average of 2.05 vehicles per household.
According to the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), more than one million cars were sold in 2022 - 1,081,429 to be precise - despite post-pandemic supply chain challenges and delivery delays.
While Aussies were keen to buy SUVs and light commercial cars (making up 76.8% of sales), electric vehicles also saw a rise in demand, accounting for 3.1% of sales.
FCAI Chief Executive Tony Weber said despite microprocessor shortages and supply issues, 2022 saw a large number of cars sold, and 2023 is set to be even bigger.
“While 2022 has been a year of resilience and recover, 2023 is shaping up as one of the most significant in recent history, particularly in terms of the development of policies that set the direction for the future decarbonisation of the light vehicle fleet,” Mr Weber said.
It’s clear Aussies remain big lovers of cars, so without further ado, here are Australia's most popular cars by brand and by individual model.
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The 10 most popular car brands in 2022
Of the 1.08 million sold last year, the following car brands account for the top 10 based on FCAI car sale figures.
Total vehicles sold in Australia: 231,050
Toyota takes the top gong (by a mile) once again with more than 230,000 vehicles sold in 2022. Within its range of cars, the Toyota Hi-Lux is by far the most popular model, with the economical Toyota Yaris, the family-friendly Camry, and the 4WD Landcruiser also popular choices amongst Aussies.
Total vehicles sold in Australia: 95,718
Coming in second place, Mazda sold almost 100,000 new cars last year and it’s no surprise given its affordable price points, stylish designs, and extensive range of models to cover all driving needs.
Total vehicles sold in Australia: 78,330
While Kia is a relatively new manufacturer on the market, it’s proving popular amongst Aussie drivers with almost 80,000 new vehicles sold in 2022. Top sellers currently include the Kia Sportage, Kia Cerato, and Kia Seltos.
Total vehicles sold in Australia: 76,991
Just missing out a spot on the podium was Mitsubishi, with over 75,000 vehicles sold. The iconic Triton was the main driver of these sales, being a powerful ute loved by travellers and tradies alike. Other trusted models include the Outlander and Lancer.
Total vehicles sold in Australia: 73,345
Hyundai’s brand is a household name, with over 70,000 vehicles sold across the country in 2022 alone. Hyundai is also the parent company of Kia - when sales of Kia and Hyundai are combined, they comfortably outsell long-time second placed Mazda. Popular models are the i30 and Tucson.
Total vehicles sold in Australia: 66,628
When you think of a classic Australian car, the brands Ford and Holden instantly come to mind. The Ford Ranger was the second most popular model sold in 2022, just behind the mighty Hi-Lux. However, when comparing monthly figures, the Ranger took out top gong in April 2023, with 41 more cars sold than the Hi-Lux.
Total vehicles sold in Australia: 49,582
MG’s market share has been rising steadily over the last few years, with almost 50,000 vehicles sold in 2022. One reason for its recent success across the nation could be down to its extremely affordable electric vehicle - MG ZS EV. Other best sellers are the MG ZS and the MG MG3.
Total vehicles sold in Australia: 36,036
Coming in at eighth place is Subaru, with over 36,000 vehicles sold over the past year. The top models favoured by Aussies include the Forester, WRX, and Outback.
9. Isuzu Ute
Total vehicles sold in Australia: 35,323
Sitting closely behind Subaru is Isuzu Ute - a classic staple among tradies. In 2022, over 24,000 Isuzu Ute D-Maxes were sold across the country, landing a place in the top 10.
Total vehicles sold in Australia: 30,946
Coming in at lucky last is well-known German brand, Volkswagen. With models such as the Golf, Amarok, Tiguan, and Passat, Volkswagen has been a key brand in the Aussie vehicle market for a number of years.
Most popular models in 2022
|Rank||Car model||Number of sales|
|3||Toyota Rav 4||34,845|
|8||Isuzu Ute D-Max||24,336|
This data is interesting as the top-selling car - the Toyota Hi-Lux - is a ute, just like the second-highest selling car the Ford Ranger, the fourth-placed Mitsubishi Triton, and the eighth-placed Isuzu Ute D-Max. That so many of the top 10 best-selling vehicles are utes suggests that perhaps Aussies are keen to embrace their humble true-blue personalities. Or maybe it's just because utes are powerful, practical, and used heavily by tradespeople and businesses (as fleet cars), which would surely account for a large portion of these new sales. Either or.
Why are these brands so popular?
There's a good variety of cars in these lists so it's difficult to say exactly why these ones are so popular. Brand recognition surely has a major say in purchase decisions, but after looking at each of these models in this list, you can see a few common themes:
- A high fuel-economy, as well as low carbon emissions
- Affordability - many of these cars can be bought for a drive away price of less than $30,000
- Low running costs for some of the smaller models was a deciding factor
- Interior comfort and style too
Notably, each of the top ten individual car models also have a five-star ANCAP safety rating (apart from MG ZS with 4 stars), meaning that they come equipped with the highest standard of safety technologies modern cars can have, such as parking assist, blind-spot mirrors, lane departure warnings and more. This is fairly standard now among new cars, but it does show that perhaps the typical car buyer today is more safety-conscious.
How do Australians buy their cars?
According to an Ipsos survey commissioned by Carsales.com.au, car buying in Australia is now more multifaceted than ever. Gone are the days of popping into a dealership, speaking to a greasy car salesman and driving away in a car beyond your price range. Now, 61% of new and used car buyers are influenced by car review and comparison sites, compared to just 38% who are influenced by dealerships.
The average Aussie is simply more informed now, taking an average of four trips to a dealership before buying. During this time in between trips, they use mobiles, tablets and computers to access vital information on their car of choice, and are willing to travel up to 80 km to find the right one.
Brand loyalty is also on the decline, so the cars you see at the top of this list must be doing something right. Don't just take our word for it though - you have a wealth of information at your fingertips, so put it to good use!
Savings.com.au's two cents
Well there you have it, the top 10 most popular car brands in Australia! These classic cars on offer from some of the biggest brands - whether they’re Toyota, Ford, or MG - are all well loved for a reason.
Of course, new car sales shouldn’t be solely relied upon when choosing a car. You should also consider the car’s reliability, driving experience, value for money, and how it’ll fit into your lifestyle.
While cars are an expensive asset to buy, they can be even more expensive to own. You could end up paying over $10,000 a year after you've already bought the thing. So don't just look at the outside of a car. Look into:
It's possible that there are cars outside of those offered by the top 10 brands that fare much better in terms of overall cost. If you decide to take out a car loan to purchase your next car, then consider looking at a secured car loan with low interest rates and fees. Try using a car loan repayment calculator, so you know what to expect and don't end up in over your head.