Records for new vehicle sales in Australia continued to be broken with the March 2024 result of 109,647 surpassing the previous record March of 106,988 in 2018.

The January to March result of 304,452 was the best ever first quarter for new vehicle sales, up 13.2% year on year.

FCAI chief executive Tony Weber said it was remarkable nine of the past 12 months had seen the industry achieve record sales results.

“This is a terrific result for the sector however, all car brands are well aware that these results cannot be taken for granted,” Weber said. “We need to factor in the ongoing cost of living pressures and the challenges for industry and consumers that will emerge with the introduction of the New Vehicle Efficiency Standard (NVES) in less than nine months.”

SUVs accounted for 58.9% of sales while the passenger segment was down to 16.1% from 17.7% a year ago.

Light commercial share fell to 21% from 22.6%.

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Battery electric vehicles took 9.5% of new vehicle sales versus 6.8% in March 2023.

Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid share increased year on year to 14% from 6%. Sales of electrified vehicles in March took 23.5% of the total market “demonstrating the continuing evolution of technology and increasing consumer preference in response to the challenges of decarbonisation”, according to the FCAI.

Toyota was the market leader with 18,961 sales, followed by Ford (8,776), Mazda (8,246), Mitsubishi (7,866) and Kia (7,070).

The Ford Ranger was Australia’s top selling vehicle with sales of 5,661, followed by the Toyota RAV4 (5,070), Tesla Model Y (4,379), Toyota HiLux (3,995) and Mitsubishi Outlander (2,764).

“A fuel efficiency standard is long overdue. However, we remain concerned at the speed and magnitude of the change for both manufacturers and more importantly, consumers,” Weber added.

“The car makers will respond, however it will take time to develop new products, especially in the large SUV and Light Commercial segments, that meet expectations in terms of price, performance and emissions, noting these vehicles make up more than one third of new vehicle sales in Australia.

“We look forward to working with the government regarding the administration of the proposed NVES and the development of critical supporting activities such as the development of an effective national recharging network for electric vehicles.”