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Australian Automotive Industry

Australia is the ninth largest destination for U.S. auto parts exports. The market has relatively few barriers for U.S. companies. All vehicles are imported.

The Australian aftermarket for replacement parts and accessories is estimated to be worth around US$9.2 billion and is split fairly evenly between local manufacturers and imports of aftermarket parts. Annual Australian exports of aftermarket parts are estimated by the Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association (AAAA) to be US$1.85 billion.

U.S. auto parts exports to Australia were valued at US$1.85 billion in 2021. China is the largest source of imports of auto parts followed by the U.S, Japan, Thailand, Germany, and Korea.

The performance market can be divided up into a number of sub-sectors with the first being performance and aftermarket parts for new vehicles. These vehicles include the Ford Mustang, European brands including Audi, Porsche, Jaguar, and Mercedes Benz; as well as Japanese manufacturers Toyota, Honda, Mitsubishi and Mazda. Performance parts are also in demand for Australian-manufactured performance vehicles from Ford and GM Holden including the Commodore and the Falcon. The third part of the performance market is supplying parts to the very healthy local motorsport market which includes drag racing, circuit racing, off road racing, and powerboat racing.

Possibly the most promising sector is the off-road market. With its vast tracks of outback and a large unfolding market as witnessed by the numbers of Hilux/Rangers sold in the local market, consumers are keen to customize their light trucks. Popular accessories include upgraded suspension components, bull bars, roof racks, carrying racks, upgraded lighting, rims, bed liners, and shock absorbers. Popular brands in the local market include Toyota Hilux, Ford Ranger, Mitsubishi Triton, Isuzu D-Max, Toyota Prado, Nissan Navara, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Isuzu D-Max, Mazda BT-50, and Toyota Land Cruiser. VW is also making solid inroads with the Amarok. Jeep’s Gladiator was introduced into the market in mid-2020.

U.S. manufacturers have a good reputation in Australia for making high-quality, well-engineered auto aftermarket and specialty products. The best segments for U.S. manufacturers in the local market include supplying aftermarket performance parts, off-road and light truck accessories, repair tools, and consumables. 

U.S.-made pickups such as the Ford 150/250, GM Silverado, Toyota Tucson and Dodge Ram are not imported into Australia by the major manufacturers.  They are imported by private companies and converted locally to right-hand drive. Due to the high cost of conversion, there are relatively few of them on Australian roads. However, at a converted price point of sub AU$100,000, the Ram sells in higher numbers than its competitors. Ford is planning to offer the F150 in Australia through its dealer network. The trucks will be converted to right hand drive locally.

There are relatively few barriers to exporting automotive products to Australia. If products can be classified as automotive items of minimum 51% U.S. content, there are no customs tariffs under the Australia-U.S. Free Trade Agreement. Documentation stating the rules of origin should accompany the shipment of goods.

Vehicle compliance is handled by the Australian state in which the vehicle is to be registered. Compliance can sometimes be more onerous than in the United States. The Australian Design Rules (ADRs) are the guiding principles in terms of compliance in Australia and sometimes small modifications can require a construction engineer’s report to ensure the vehicle complies with ADR.

2021 Automotive Industry Data

In 2021, 1,049,831 new passenger cars, SUVs, and commercial vehicles were sold in the local market (up from 916,968 in 2020). Sales of SUV’s accounted for 49.6% of the market, Passenger cars for 24.2%, light commercial vehicles 22.4%, and heavy commercial vehicles 6.4%. New vehicles must be sold in right-hand drive. Sixty vehicle brands and 380 vehicle models are sold in the Australian market.  There are over 3,600 dealer locations.

Top Passenger Vehicle Brands 2021
Toyota (223,642)
Mazda (101,119)
Hyundai (72,872)
Ford (71,380)
Kia (67,964)
Mitsubishi (67,730)
Nissan (41,263)
Volkswagen (40,770)
MG (39,025) - 155.9% annual increase
Subaru (37,015)

Top 10 Vehicle Models
Toyota HiLux (52,801units +16% on 2020) 
Ford Ranger (50,279 units + 22% on 2020) 
Toyota RAV4 (385,751 units - 7% on 2020)
Toyota Corolla (258,768 units +11% on 2020) 
Hyundai i30 (25,575 units +23% on 2020)
Isuzu D-Max (25,117 + 66% on 2020)
Mazda CX-5 (24,968 units +14% on 2020)
Toyota Prado (21,299 units +16% on 2020)
Mitsubishi Triton (19,232 units +6% on 2020)
MG ZS  (18,432 units + 125% on 2020)

Other Vehicles of Note
Toyota Landcruiser Wagon (14,356 units - 4% on 2020)
Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series (12,277 units +21% on 2020)
Nissan Navara (15,113 units +31% on 2020)
GM Silverado (2,114 units)
GM Corvette (250 units)
Mazda BT-50 (15,662 units +63% on 2020)
Holden Colorado (7,559 units 2019) – No longer imported
Isuzu MU-X (10,618 units +50% on 2020)
Volkswagen Amarok (7659 units + 20% on 2020)
BMW 3     (3,982 units +16% on 2020)
Ram 1500 (3,819 units +15% on 2020)
Ford Mustang (2,827 units -3% on 2020)
Nissan Patrol (3,333 +18% on 2020)
Mitsubishi Pajero (2.399 units 15.6% in 2020)- removed from production
Mercedes-Benz X-Class (2,386 in 2020)
Jeep Gladiator (1283 units +123% on 2020)
GWM Ute (6,888 units + 6,000% on 2020)
LDV T60 (6,705 units +20% on 2020)

Source:  Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries; Australian Bureau of Statistics