Holden sales hit zero and Chinese manufactured cars overtook German in a bonza January new car sales boost.

New car sales are surging across the board with Aussies purchasing more cars last month than in many recent Januaries. But things have changed significantly in just a few years according to Vfacts data.

Released today, Vfacts reports Australian car sales rose 11 per cent in January year-on-year, with 79,666 new cars sold for the first month of 2021. However, for the first month in a very long time, not one Holden was purchased; an expected outcome since GM began its blitz removal of the lion brand last year.

For the greater industry, it has been a significant turn around from the gloomy months when the coronavirus pandemic hit and a very positive uptick. The top five selling brands were Toyota (16,819), Mazda (8508), Hyundai (5951), Kia (5500), and Mitsubishi (5179), with the two Korean brands now firmly in the upper echelons of the local sales chart.

But it is Chinese brands that are making the biggest moves lower in the sales chart, the Asian country now accounting for more car sales than Germany in Vfacts’ ‘Sales by country of origin’ (COO) chart. Sales of Chinese-built vehicles in January eclipsed vehicles produced in the USA, England, and Germany, among others, though they are a way behind South Korea, Thailand and Japan.

Although an indication of a quickly changing mindset in Australia (remember when Holden and Ford dominated the sales charts?) on Chinese cars since the days of early Chery models and the first-generation Great Wall Motors utes, this chart isn’t an exact indicator of brand loyalty, with vehicles from Thailand the second biggest selling COO behind Japan, though many of those vehicles such as Toyota Hilux and Isuzu D-Max are Japanese brands. Also keep in mind some German brand cars are built in other countries.

Vehicle sales by country of origin January 2021 Australia:


At a brand level, the Chinese brands MG, GWM Haval, and LDV saw a tremendous increase month on month, MG up a whopping 160 per cent, GWM Haval 135 per cent and LDV 100 per cent. GWM Haval could see another big month with sales of the new Ute (GWM Ute) finding traction.

At the pointy end, it remains business as usual for the stalwart sellers: Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger sitting at the top of the chart above Toyota Rav4, Mazda CX-5, Toyota Corolla, Hyundai i30, Mitsubishi Triton, Isuzu D-Max, Nissan X-Trail and the Kia Cerato.


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Practical Motoring

The team of journalists at Practical Motoring bring decades of automotive and machinery industry experience. From car and motorbike journalists to mechanical expertise, we like to use tools of the trade both behind the computer and in the workshop.


  1. All those Holdens sold that came from USA, Germany, Poland and Thailand will impact sales by country of manufacture going forward

  2. It seems to me that some people never learn from the past…the same kind of criticisms – or rather prejudices and racial remarks – were invoked against Japan when their cars emerged on the market. however the public voted with their feet – or rather money and this will happen again.

    pointing out problems for other makers is really just rubbish….sounds more like hard chess than anything else…..

    At the end of the day, the public buys as near as possible to what they want….price, purpose functions etc…… Holden, bless ’em really didn’t do this. Of course many of their vehicles were re-badged imports – now those companies can just continue without having to put a Holden badge on everything (e.g. the Izusu pickup range.

    1. Low price and dubious quality issues aside it is hard to comprehend that any good Australian would voluntarily choose to purchase a Chinese vehicle. There is a growing and laudable trend to avoid purchasing anything made in China and whilst this might be difficult at times – the bottom line is that this is a country which is openly anti-Australian! Whilst the Chinese people are generally a delight, the communist regime is hostile, capable of bullying tactics and is devoid of adhering to any form of cooperation.

      1. I’d say many don’t even know some of these are Chinese. Perhaps it should be COO labels on cars and truth in advertising. Stating made in – – – – -.
        Agree entirely with your reply.

      2. You are absolutely right. They, the Chinese are laughing at the Australians who buy their vehicles because on one hand they bullied our goods at their ports making things difficult for us, totally disregard international free trade agreements, on the other hand they continue to export their vehicles into our shore, making money pretending nothing wrong. This one way thuggery and malicious behaviour must be stopped and every Aussies must understand and unite to teach them alesson.

  3. Given that the last Holdens were chock full of Chinese bits, it’s a shame that the Chinese didn’t buy the Holden name and continue production. A Chinese RWD V8 ZB would have been nicer than the one GM foisted on us (IMHO). Yes I know – Holden is not as well known as MG.

    I understand that our Fed Govt had agreements and deals with GM. Maybe they should have added a clause similar to this?: “Shut things down and the Fed Govt gets the Elizabeth Factory and the Holden name.” Perhaps it could have been sold to a Korean or Chinese or Indian Car Co?

    Ben Tate.

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