This new car maker hasn’t been in Australia for long but already it’s outselling some of the best known brands in the country.
We may be locked in a trade war with China, but somebody forgot to tell Australian car buyers.
As China continues to talk tough in trade negotiations, its car brands are enjoying record growth in the local market, as buyers are drawn by low prices and long equipment lists.
China has now overtaken Germany as the fourth biggest importer of cars to Australia behind Japan, Thailand and Korea.
Sales of Chinese cars are up a staggering 152 per cent in the first two months of the year, led by reborn brand MG.
The Chinese swooped on the failed British car brand several years ago, turning it into a sales juggernaut.
Australians bought more than 3000 MGs last month — a jump of 160 per cent compared to the same month in 2020. The brand moved into the top ten sellers for the first time in February, eclipsing well-known brands such as Volkswagen, Subaru, Honda and Mercedes-Benz.
The MG3 is now the most popular light car in the country, outselling former favourites the Mazda2 and Toyota Yaris. Its MG ZS is the second most popular small SUV in the country behind the Mitsubishi ASX.
MG Australia boss, Peter Ciao, was ecstatic at the outcome.
“This is a momentous milestone for MG in Australia – and it’s all because of our customers. MG is built on the premise of listening to our customers first and foremost,” says Ciao.
“Whether it’s about value, or the technology they want in their new car, they are at the forefront of everything we do. Our whole focus is giving value to our customer.”
Tradies are increasingly taking a shine to Chinese commercial vehicle maker LDV. Sales of its vans and dual-cab utes saw the brand grow by 80 per cent through the first two months of this year.
Great Wall Motors has joined forces with Haval, and the two combined have boosted sales by 170 per cent this year.
Overall 83,977 new cars found a home in February, a jump of 5.1 per cent compared to February 2020.
So far this year new car sales are up almost eight per cent compared to the 2020 pre-COVID-19 levels — a sure sign the economy is recovering.
The head of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, Tony Weber, said that strong sales in NSW, Queensland and Western Australia should continue, while Victoria was on track for a post-lockdown.
“We remain confident that this trend of growth will continue in an environment where business operating conditions continue to normalise,” says Weber.
Victoria continues to lag behind the rest of Australia, recording an 8.7 per cent drop in sales in February compared to growth of 10.8 per cent in New South Wales, 14.8 per cent in Queensland, 21.7 per cent in Western Australia and 4.7 per cent in South Australia.
Outside of the Chinese brands, Toyota remains the dominate force in Australia, with four of the best selling vehicles in the country.
The Toyota HiLux was again the best selling vehicle in the country with a monster 4808 sales in a short month.
This number easily eclipsed long-term rival the Ford Ranger, which attracted 2900 buyers.
The top five was rounded out by the Toyota RAV4 (2750), Toyota LandCruiser (2521) and Toyota Corolla (2427).
Isuzu’s D-Max ute was a strong performer moving 1765 units, which is an almost 70 per cent increase compared to February 2020.
Mazda’s CX-5 and Mitsubishi’s ASX continue to report strong sales.
Kia recorded sales growth of 15 per cent thanks to strong support for the new Sorento and Seltos SUVs and new Carnival people mover.
Jeep is continuing its resurgence. The American brand’s sales dropped to a devastating low in the past few years, but so far in 2021 they are up by a quarter.
But it wasn’t all roses out there. Volkswagen has continued to struggle in 2021, with sales down almost 17 per cent as it awaits the arrival of a new Golf and Tiguan.
Luxury brands Audi and BMW struggled, but rivals Lexus, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo fared better.
More high-priced Bentleys and Ferraris found homes than Citroens, and French marques Peugeot and Renault were down more than 30 per cent.
Top 10 new cars in February
Toyota HiLux – 4808
Ford Ranger – 2900
Toyota RAV4 – 2750
Toyota LandCruiser – 2521
Toyota Corolla – 2427
Hyundai i30 – 2210
Mazda Cx-5 – 2048
Isuzu D-Max – 1765
Mitsubishi Triton – 1761
Mitsubishi ASX – 1489
Top 10 car brands in February
Toyota – 18,375
Mazda – 8322
Hyundai – 6252
Mitsubishi – 6202
Kia – 5871
Ford – 4712
Nissan – 3824
MG – 3017
Volkswagen – 3009
Mercedes-Benz – 2815