Hybrid sales charge ahead as electric cars slow down

Hybrid vehicle ales are soaring and represented 18.3 per cent of all new vehicles sold in April.

Hybrid vehicle ales are soaring and represented 18.3 per cent of all new vehicles sold in April. Photo: AAP

Hybrid vehicle sales are taking off in Australia, with figures revealing their popularity has more than doubled in a year and the low-emission cars represent almost one in every five new models.

But SUVs continue to dominate Australia’s automotive market, followed by light commercial vehicles, such as utes.

The findings were revealed by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries on Friday, in data that also showed consumers purchased a record number of new vehicles during April but the popularity of electric cars had stalled.

The insights come as the federal government prepares to debate its new vehicle efficiency standard in parliament that is designed to encourage automakers to bring more low-emission cars to the country from next year and cut vehicle pollution.

FCAI chief executive Tony Weber said vehicle sales during the month of April were surprisingly strong in a challenging economy, with more than 97,000 new models sold – 15,000 more than in April last year.

The figures also showed Australians bought more than 401,000 new cars in the first four months of 2024, setting a new record.

“April’s result highlights strong consumer confidence in purchasing new vehicles, surpassing our expectations, and is a testament to consumer choice and the industry’s resilience in a challenging economic landscape,” Mr Weber said.

SUVs represented the most popular style of vehicle in Australia, making up 55 per cent of all new cars sold, followed by light commercial vehicles, such as utes and vans, with 22 per cent of sales.

An SUV also stole the title of best-selling vehicle during the month, with Toyota’s RAV4 displacing the Ford Ranger ute for top spot.

Only two passenger vehicles, the Toyota Corolla and Toyota Camry, made the top 10 list in April, with all other places were filled by SUVs and utes.

But the figures revealed hybrid vehicles were also soaring and represented 18.3 per cent of all new vehicles sold compared to 7.5 per cent last year.

Australian motorists bought more than 16,000 hybrid vehicles and 1300 plug-in hybrid cars last month, according to the FCAI, which represented an increase of more than 130 per cent compared to 2023.

Weber said the trend showed drivers were increasingly considering the fuel efficiency and environmental impact of the cars they bought.

“We are witnessing a shift in consumer preferences towards more sustainable and efficient vehicles,” he said.

Electric vehicles did not enjoy similar growth during April, with sales falling from 9.5 per cent of the market in March to 6.4 per cent during April.

EV sales were also down compared to last year, with consumers buying 336 fewer models than the same time in 2023.

Electric car brand Tesla still scored a spot among the top 10 automakers after making more than 2000 sales during the month, but Toyota again claimed top spot with more than 77,000 sales.


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