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Car Talk - By Jack Biddle

Motoring - What to buy?

While the new vehicle registrations for October reportedly benefited from strong deliveries of back orders for vehicles with some form of electrification in their drive train, there is enough evidence to suggest where the greatest swing in consumer mind-set is heading, in the short term at least.

With the ute category being almost completely dominated by diesel fuelled vehicles due to the lack of environmentally friendly alternatives, the more mainstream vehicles on offer have the options of full, partial or zilch form of electrification plus, come with the added bonus of gaining a clean car rebate from the Government in many cases. So is now a good time to go fully or partially electric for the non-ute buyers in the market?

Well, judging by the October figures, it seems the buying public aren’t quite ready to drive straight past a conventional gas station any time soon, although, it would appear, many are thinking about the future and having a bob each way by taking the hybrid option. Doing ones’ bit for the environment but keeping things simple and not having to worry about a battery top up via a home or nearby charging station, seems to be winning the favour of consumers currently.

Sales of hybrid vehicles (a petrol engine partnered with self-charging as-you-drive electric assistance) were the clear winners over those with fully electric (BEV) powertrains or Plug-in hybrids (require a charging station to fully top up the battery) in October. Hybrid registrations totalled 2,281 with the top selling models being the Toyota RAV4 (599 units) followed by the Toyota Yaris Cross (237 units) and the Honda Jazz (231 units).

Registrations of plug-in hybrids numbered 919 units with the top selling models being the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross (409 units) followed by the Mitsubishi Outlander (313 units) and the MG HS (83 units). The BEV fleet had a total of 1,125 registrations (including 42 light commercials) against their name for October led by the new boy on the block, the Chinese branded BYD Atto 3 (206 units) followed by another Chinese brand, the MG ZS (169 units) and in third spot, the Tesla Model Y (167 units).

According to the Motor Industry Association (MIA), a total of 14,736 new vehicle registrations for the October month were up 5.1 percent compared to October last year while overall, the market year-to-date, is 0.3 percent ahead compared to the first ten months of 2021.

It’s early days, but with registrations of 3,965 new commercial vehicles being 16.9% (808 units) lower than October last year and with year-to-date sales down 6.7% (2,922 units) compared to the first ten months of 2021, are we seeing the start of an ongoing decline in commercial sales? Or is there simply a long delay in getting pre-ordered vehicles to market? Only time will tell. The reports are Ford has around 5,000 orders on their books for the updated Ranger which suggests any overall decline in ute sales long term, will be slow rather than rapid and customers are resigned to paying the Government Clean Car fee for now.

The top three models for the month of October were the Ford Ranger (1491 units), followed by the Mitsubishi Outlander (1,030 units) and the Toyota RAV4 in third place (746 units). Year to date the Ford Ranger regained top spot (8,939 units), followed by the Toyota Hilux (8,256 units) and the Mitsubishi Outlander (8,169 units).

Toyota was once again the overall market leader with 20% market share (2,969 units), followed by Mitsubishi with 14% (2,019 units) and Ford thanks mainly to Ranger sales in third spot with 13% market share (1,972 units). Market share year to October, had Toyota leading with 18% (24,091 units) followed by Mitsubishi with 15% share (20,980 units) and Ford with 8% (11,649 units). All signs are we can expect to see a large increase in the electrification of our fleet in the near future but continuing to lift the handle at a gas station to refuel rather than plugging in, is set to continue for some time yet. As is the influx and demand for vehicles sourced out of China. And no surprises either that Toyota has most bases covered when it comes to offering hybrid technology to consumers. They have a habit of keeping things simple and reliable.

The Top 15 Selling Passenger vehicles for October: Mitsubishi Outlander 1030, Toyota RAV4 746, Toyota Corolla 478, Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross 453, Suzuki Swift 408, Toyota Yaris Cross 353, MG ZS 323, Kia Sportage 301, Honda Jazz 267, Mitsubishi ASX 265, Ford Everest 217, BYD ATTO 3 206, Haval H6 178, Hyundai Kona 177, Hyundai Tucson 174.

The Top 10 Selling Passenger Vehicles YTD (up to October): Mitsubishi Outlander 8169, Toyota RAV4 5026, Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross 3157, Suzuki Swift 3129, Kia Sportage 2738, Mitsubishi ASX 2645, MG ZS 2624, Toyota Corolla 2269, Tesla Model Y 2259, Hyundai Kona 2231.

The Top 6 Selling Commercial Vehicles YTD (up to October): Ford Ranger 8939, Toyota Hilux 8256, Mitsubishi Triton 5546, Nissan Navara 1742, Isuzu D-Max 1660, Toyota Hiace 1433.


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