VFACTS October new vehicle sales – 1.2m or bust?

Record sales of 106,809 new vehicles in October, putting us over 1m vehicles sold in 2023. Continuing this trend would see the Australian market crack 1.2m vehicles in a single calendar year for the first time. While this may be an entirely symbolic threshold, it talks to the improved production and logistical performance by manufacturers as they clear outstanding orders, and reduce vehicle wait times.

One big question though… while manufacturers are likely to keep pushing to the end of the year, can consumer demand hold up in the face of an increasingly challenging economic environment?

top takeaways

where to from here?

While this is the first time we’ve cracked 1m vehicles by October, history can gives us a guide as to what’s possible from here. Excluding the COVID- impacted 2019 and 2020 results, almost one in five vehicles are typically sold in the last two months of the year. On this basis, we’d see a hair over 200,000 vehicles sold, for an annual result of 1.206m.

The key unknown here is the number of existing orders being counted in current sales deliveries. At what point do they run their course, and manufacturers need to either accept reduced volumes or start discounting to move stock?

Indications are that we could already be moving in that direction, with new vehicle wait times at an average of 73 days in October, down from 109 just four months ago. In June, six of the top 10 brands still had wait times over 100 days, but now that’s down to three (with Ford down from 193 to just 104 days over that period).

what’s next

Supply is improving, but consumer sentiment is now becoming more of a concern again. More rate rises are expected (potentially as early as tomorrow), so we’re waiting to see what impact that has on new vehicle sales. With that said, (and regardless of whether we hit 1.2m sales or not), around two thirds of OEMs are ahead of their 2022 sales, so will be feeling comfortable heading into the end of the year.

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