The Australian new car sales chart is quickly changing with 2021 showing that China and in particular SAIC Motor brand MG and competitor GWM are fast becoming popular options for buyers.

As we reported last month, January saw China become the fourth largest country of origin for new car sales (according to Vfacts provided by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries), leaping in front of Germany. That trend continues and with gusto, as Chinese cars accounted for 5013 units sold in February 2021 – up 150 per cent year-on-year and well ahead of German-sourced vehicles which notched 3370 of the February sales records.

Japan continues to dominate, however, with Toyota, Mazda, and Mitsubishi – all top-four brands in February, contributing greatly. Thailand continues to be second thanks to the dual-cab ute market which is largely produced in the south-east Asian country, and South Korea is the third biggest source via the success of Hyundai and Kia (third and fifth overall on the sales chart).

But making waves is MG, the Chinese car brand which overtook Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen on the top-ten seller’s list to be the eighth most popular option for new car buyers last month, recording 3017 sales in February, up from 2408 in January though only just a handful more units than Volkswagen (3009).

It is certainly proof of Chinese cars being more widely accepted and also where the market is at, MG offering the mid-size HS and smaller ZS SUVs at highly competitive price points (undercutting nearly all rivals) while also adopting optional plug-in hybrid electric vehicle technology that is hardly commonplace in the mainstream.

The trend is also supported by Chinese carmakers LDV and GWM/Haval, which are enjoying booming sales respectively. GWM in particular with its new GWM Ute (a competitor to the Mitsubishi Triton, Ford Ranger et al) helping the brand grow a huge 170 per cent.

February 2021 sales by country of origin

Japan – 29,438

Thailand – 17,458

Korea – 12,305

China – 5013

Germany – 3370

England – 2247

February 2021 sales by car brand

Toyota – 18,735

Mazda – 8322

Hyundai – 6552

Mitsubishi – 6202

Kia – 5871

Ford – 4712

Nissan – 3824

MG – 3017 

Volkswagen – 3009

Mercedes-Benz – 2815

February 2021 sales by model

Toyota Hilux – 4808

Ford Ranger – 2900

Toyota Rav4 – 2750

Toyota LandCruiser – 2521

Toyota Corolla – 2427

Hyundai i30 – 2210Mazda CX-5 – 2048

Isuzu D-MAX – 1765

Mitsubishi Triton – 1761

Mitsubishi ASX – 1489


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About Author

Alex Rae

Alex Rae brings almost two decades’ experience, previously working at publications including Wheels, WhichCar, Drive/Fairfax,, AMC, Just Cars, and more.


  1. It’s hard to see the Chinese overtake the South Korean (5000 vs 12,000 sales) but then again…

  2. Also that GWM ute is big, saw one on the road next to a Ranger and was surprised by the size, it really is huge.

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