So, we have established some of the structure and history of the Australian automotive market place in our part 1 press release and now want to step a little deeper into some of the trends and possible differences from other global markets.
Given the expansive land mass of Australia (6th largest in the world) we want to first provide some insights into the fuel type performance. While distance travelling certainly lends itself to the fuel economy provided by diesel engine vehicles, the close proximity to advanced Asian countries driving a large proportion of the EV revolution and also having the largest producer of Hybrid vehicles (Toyota) as the #1 OEM over the last decade would certainly speak for a pretty diverse split in fuel types.
In reality, it is still running a heavy Petrol majority while it continues to move away from the larger V6, V8 engine vehicles once preferred by the populace for both the status and prestige, toward the smaller, more fuel efficient 4-cylinder variants. Thus, it is once again (like with Pick-ups/Utes), similar in this regard to the USA, but just to a lesser extent. Petrol engines in 2014 equated to around 68.0% of all registrations though by 2018 this has dropped by around 2.6 percentage points (p.p.) to 65.4%. So, who picked up the share? Well mostly Diesel and some Hybrid.
While Hybrids are growing, moving from 2014’s 1.1% share to 2018’s 1.4%, this is quite surprisingly not being helped much by the Plug-In Hybrid variants, especially given the accelerating adoption of these vehicles in Europe and the US. Why? Well perhaps for the same reasons that Electric cars are still not making much of an impact in the marketplace. Lack of government focus on charging networks, enticing tax benefits or taxation on vehicle emissions all contribute to the apathetic appetite for PHEV or BEV.
So, while the diesel percentage dropped from 2014 to 2015 by almost 1 p.p. it was back in ascension in 2016 and has continued to grow since, taking 33.2% of the share in 2018. Now our first assumption, especially with the timeframe in mind, to just who would likely be the main driver of this Diesel engine jump was in fact incorrect.
The German manufacturers have all, but one shrunk their Diesel footprint in Australia from 2014 to 2018, VW, Audi, BMW and Porsche have dropped anywhere between 0.2 p.p. up to 1.2 p.p. Only Mercedes bucked this trend pushing up their vehicles share by 0.4 p.p. to 3.1% in the Diesel segment. So, who is pushing the upswing?
Well there are a few in terms of growth but looking at the volume there are three big players and one link connecting them all. Toyota, Ford and Isuzu are the manufacturers in question and the links are their Pick-Ups/Utes (Hilux, Ranger and D-Max) and Large SUVs (Land Cruiser 200, Territory/Everest and MU-X) which spearheaded this Diesel charge. For the Hilux and Ranger each model of Ute brought their respective manufacturer a minimum extra of approx. 12,000 units from 2014 to 2018 (Isuzu managed 6,500 units). The SUV models managed a little less with approx. uplifts of 4,500 from Isuzu and 7,000 from the Land Cruiser 200 (Fords model change from Territory to Everest saw a small dip from 7,300 for Territory in 2014 to 5,500 for Everest in 2018).
Perhaps the final piece of this should be to mention what is missing most, Electric Vehicles. As possibly the biggest future trend for the global automotive market place in the next 10-15 years, it seems that several government’s/leaders (two different parties, five different leaders) since 2010 have failed to put anything significant into place to help push forward the adoption of Electric vehicles. Australia continues to grow; cities are expanding, and young people open to new forms of mobility make up a large percentage of both native born and immigration fuelling this expansion.
It is worth finishing with some final statistics. According to our figures there have been 1,154 Electric vehicles registered in Australia since 2014, if we add PHEVs there have been 5,878 (YTD February 2019). Norway registered 10,776 purely Electric vehicles, just in March 2019! Australia is seemingly being left behind.