Vehicle production is bouncing back, meaning more choices for Aussie buyers in 2023
AFTER a few years hamstrung by various pandemic- then war-related chip, component supply and transport issues, 2023 is shaping as a purple patch in Australia’s new-vehicle market with more than 100 new models limbering up for a local appearance.
If car-makers owned up to what they really had planned for this year before the world went topsy-turvy in 2020, that number would probably be bigger. Not to mention those keeping their cards close to their chests in terms of surprise reveals and debuts.
There are plenty of cars on the way, not the least being more than 40 new battery electric vehicles (BEV) joining a growing retinue of electron-powered models.
Although light-commercial BEVs are slowly beginning to filter through, plenty of electric passenger and SUV models – covering segments from affordable to luxury and high-performance – are in the pipeline.
Vehicles with an internal combustion engine will remain dominant, with a growing trend to electric assistance in the form of hybrid (HEV) or plug-in hybrid (PHEV) powertrains.
This trend is pretty much industry-wide, driven by European and Chinese manufacturers that are favouring BEVs while the likes of Toyota, Nissan, Honda and Mitsubishi are variously having a four-way bet with HEVs, PHEVs and BEVs along with a range of purely petrol and diesel vehicles thrown in.
Aussie buyers remain addicted to diesel-powered one-tonne utes, a segment that will remain well catered for in 2023.
The Australian new-vehicle market achieved 1.08 million vehicles in 2022 despite negative influences but supply is slowly freeing up with wait times on some popular models are reducing.
However, prices have increased markedly as manufacturers took advantage of a ‘supply and demand’ situation in the past 12 to 18 months, adding to the cost-of-living dramas caused by inflation, high fuel prices and increasing interest rates.
Discounts for buyers of new vehicles were generally off the agenda throughout the year, with recommended retail pricing the order of the day for most brands, though this is likely to ease in 2023 as supply constraints are resolving and new car stock is increasing.
Inflation notwithstanding, this should stabilise prices a little, particularly when compared with 2022.
With that in mind, here is GoAuto’s segment-by-segment rundown on the new models due to arrive in Australia this year and, where possible, an indication of when.
Micro and Light Passenger Cars
Stand outs for 2023 in the tiddler segments are hybrid versions of the Suzuki Swift and S Cross, along with Fiat’s e500 and an upgrade to the Mini Cooper.
Small Passenger Cars
Initial small car excitement will surround Toyota’s GR Corolla hot hatch, along with a swag of BEVs like the Cupra Born, GWM Ora Cat and MG4, with a new Subaru Impreza and VW updating the Golf before launching a PHEV version of the same later in 2023.
Medium Passenger Cars
This segment’s total dominance by the Toyota Camry has been challenged by the Tesla Model 3 and more mid-size electric sedans from BYD and Hyundai are coming to chase the Musk-mobile’s market share.
Large and Upper Large Passenger Cars
At the top end the action is focused on premium models like the new BMW 5-Series and a number of electric Mercedes-Benz EQ models. We might see the first Rolls-Royce EV, the Spectre, before the year is out – among many other new or updated offerings.
Contrary to some opinions, sportscars are still popular, especially now that buyers are realising that electrification means high performance in many cases, starting with Tesla.
The choice is wide and varied and includes things like the V8 Mustang Dark Horse (giddy-up) and dual-motor Kia EV6 GT at polar ends of the powertrain spectrum but offering similarly high levels of performance.
Chevrolet’s V8 Corvette Z06 is coming in a blink to offer a relatively affordable alternative to the inbound Maseratis and McLarens while Lamborghini and Porsche jack up their sportscars to create the Huracan Sterrato and 911 Dakar.
Some Mercedes-AMG and BMW M models are in the mix too.
Not much action is confirmed in the people mover segment for 2023, apart from an update to the Kia Carnival. It is possible that there are more Chinese van derivatives on the way, as well as a likely update to the Hyundai Staria later in the year.
Light, Small and Medium SUVs
This is where the action is as seemingly every manufacturer offers at least a couple of SUVs on the way, many covering the full spectrum of combustion through electron power.
Get ready for the Alfa Tonale hybrid early in the year along with BMW’s iX1 EV and Mazda’s anticipated six-cylinder hybrid powertrains in CX-60.
Nissan’s new Qashqai launches the week this article goes live and anew-generation Subaru XV that is renamed Crosstrek will arrive to compete later on in 2023.
Honda’s bigger new CR-V will be joined by a smaller ZR-V and an updated Ford Escape will attempt to build on the model’s slow sales while Chery and Mahindra will make a comeback to the local SUV sector with several new models and SsangYong is slated to grow its line-up in Australia now its financial position is more stable.
What’s coming (light SUV):
What’s coming (small SUV):
What’s coming (medium SUV):
Large and Upper Large SUVs
Sales in this super-popular segment are dominated by wagon versions of one-tonne utes and big, luxury premium SUVs. However, this is not stopping value-oriented Chinese brand GWM entering the Haval Dargo and Tank 500 to pursue potential Prado and Patrol buyers.
BMW will launch updates of the X5 and X6 along with a newcomer called the XM with a plug-in hybrid V8 powertrain. Ferrari’s first SUV, the Purosangue, is due in 2023 as is (finally) the Ineos Grenadier off-roader.
PHEV versions of Jeep’s Grand Cherokee and the VW Touareg are on the way and a new Lexus RX model range will be hybrid heavy, whereas Mercedes-Benz is going hard with the addition of more EQ electric SUV models and the Porsche Cayenne will get a facelift.
Light Commercial Vehicles
Australia’s LCV segment looks like being ‘steady as she goes’ in 2023 with a couple of electric vans on the way from Ford (eTransit) and Renault Kangoo (E-Tech).
Things might get more interesting if we see electric utes from Chinese manufacturers Geely (Radar), Chery and GWM.
Less speculative are the HiLux GR Sport flagship, more big North American pick-ups and a good chance we will see a new Mitsubishi Triton in local showrooms this year.