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Toyota Corolla drops out of top-ten most popular cars in Australia as Hilux reclaims trophy

John Law

The first month of 2022 saw some brands start the year with a bang – though few carmakers have completely sorted out troublesome supply constraints

Australians bought more new cars in January 2022 than the same time in 2020 but fewer than this time last year.

The car industry sold 75,863 new vehicles to Australians in January, which represented a five percent drop on the same result last year as semiconductor-related supply shortages continued to put an upward limit on registrations.

Nearly every car manufacturer is still grappling with debilitating parts shortages, though some marques – including Australian favourite Mazda – coped better in January than rivals like Toyota, which faced shortages of its RAV4 midsize SUV and Corolla hatchback and sedan.

2022 Toyota Corolla Ascent Sport hybrid hatch front
The Toyota Corolla had a rough month in January

The ongoing semi-conductor shortage makes it difficult to properly analyse the popularity of each model on the traditional month-on-month basis, though according to FCAI chief executive Tony Weber there is significant demand from Australian consumers for new vehicles.

There are also more local supply snags according to Mr Weber, who said “[manufacturers] are also experiencing bottlenecks in having vehicles processed from some Australian ports. We will continue to work with all parties involved to resolve the issue.”

Accruing 15,333 sales in January 2022, Toyota was again the nation’s best-selling brand (15,333) despite crippling supply constraints, with one-in-five new cars sold in Australia hailing from the Japanese giant.

In a shock result, the Toyota Corolla small car fell out of the top-ten most popular vehicles in Australia for the first time since 1999.

2022 Toyota Hilux SR5 manual ute white exterior side profile beach driving shot 2
Still, it was Toyota that topped the sales charts by brand in January

Mazda followed as the second most popular brand with 9,805 local sales, then came Mitsubishi (6533), while Kia (5520), Hyundai (5128), Ford (4528), MG (3538), Subaru (2722), Isuzu (2715) and Nissan (2334) round out the top 10 brands. 

What were Australia’s best-selling cars?

Toyota had to halt some of its Japanese plants, but these closures did not affect the company’s Thai factory that produces the Hilux ute range, which managed 3591 sales beating the Ford Ranger (3245) this month when combining 4×4 and 4×2 sales. 

That said, the usual caveat applies to the red-hot Hilux/Ranger competition: diving deeper into the numbers reveals the Ranger is still the private-buyers choice with a greater 4×4 sales share (2986) than the Toyota Hilux (2569). 

Following Australia’s two favourite utes is the Mazda CX-5 midsize SUV with 3213 registrations – despite an imminent reskin – marking a dramatic comeback from a supply-ravaged Christmas to take the trophy of Australia’s favourite SUV last month.

Mazda CX-5 GT SP 2021 rear 3/4
Mazda sorted out its Christmas supply issues to take third spot with the CX-5

The Mitsubishi Triton ute had an impressive month with 2387 sales, up 686 on January 2021. It was a similar story for the Toyota Prado 4WD with 1206 more units shifted than last year for a total 2566 sales.

Isuzu’s D-Max ute finished just outside the five with 1895 registrations, followed by the Hyundai i30 small car (1642) and the MG ZS small SUV (1588). 

The MG MG3 light car was another model with a huge 80.6 percent improvement on last year at 1551 sales. The updated Subaru Forester midsize SUV rounded out the top 10 with 1480 registrations. 

The Toyota Corolla dropped outside the top-10 best-sellers for the first time since digital records are readily accessible (1999) with registrations down 30 percent at 1442 sales. 

Toyota RAV4 Cruiser 2021 Performance testing
Like the Corolla, the RAV4 was plagued with supply shortages this month

Similarly, the RAV4 slipped way down to 12th with its 1425 sales representing a massive 53.5 percent drop on last January.

Following the usually-dominant Toyotas was the Mazda CX-30 small SUV (1388), Mitsubishi Outlander midsize SUV (1352), and the Mazda 3 small car in 15th.

The Mazda BT-50 ute scored 16th place (1240) succeeded by the Toyota Camry (1233) and Kia Cerato which managed 1208 sales.

Rounding out the top 20 best-sellers were the Nissan Navara ute with 1179 sales and the Kia Sportage midsize SUV, which made a solid showing (at 1110 units) given only two of its four trim levels are currently available in Australia.

The top 20 best-selling cars in January 2022

  1. Toyota Hilux 4×4 and 4×2: 3591
  2. Ford Ranger 4×4 and 4×2: 3245
  3. Mazda CX-5: 3213
  4. Mitsubishi Triton 4×4 and 4×2: 2837
  5. Toyota Prado: 2566
  6. Isuzu D-Max 4×4 and 4×2: 1895
  7. Hyundai i30: 1642
  8. MG ZS: 1588
  9. MG3: 1551
  10. Subaru Forester: 1480
  11. Toyota Corolla: 1442
  12. Toyota RAV4: 1425
  13. Mazda CX-30: 1388
  14. MItsubishi Outlander: 1352
  15. Mazda 3: 1273
  16. Mazda BT-50 4×4 and 4×2: 1240
  17. Toyota Camry: 1233
  18. Kia Cerato: 1208
  19. Nissan Navara 4×4 and 4×2: 1179
  20. Kia Sportage: 1110