NEW car sales have risen 1.2 per cent year on year to 101,233 for the month of March. But that’s not the big news. Tesla’s arrival in the top ten thanks to the success of its Model 3 sedan shakes up a list regularly dominated by non-electric vehicles.
Toyota also put the HiLux in the number one spot, heading the RAV4, Mitsubishi Triton and Mazda CX-5. The Model 3 came in fifth, pushing the Ford Ranger back to sixth, with the Hyundai i30, Isuzu D-MAX, and Toyota Prado and Corolla rounding out the top ten.
It’s worth noting this is the first time Tesla has reported local sales figures, with fellow EV brand Polestar also joining VFACTS. In the overall brand stakes, Toyota leads the charge by a considerable margin, ahead of Mazda, Mitsubishi, Kia and Hyundai.
Tesla’s growing popularity is likely a consequence, at least in part, of the sudden hike in fuel prices across the country following the conflict in the Ukraine. Long term supply issues thanks to COVID-19 and chip shortages also continue to cripple the industry.
Consumer demand for new vehicles remains strong however, with the growing popularity of zero and low emission vehicles set to further impact sales figures in the coming months.
With infrastructure to support EVs continuing to be rolled out across the country, and various government incentives, these numbers will only grow. On a segment by segment basis, both passenger and light commercial vehicle markets saw growth in March.
SUV sales were down slightly, while heavy commercial sales up significantly (by 12.5 per cent).