Australia set a record for new car sales in 2015 — but local manufacturers aren’t the ones cashing in on the boom.

Official VFACTS data released by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) have revealed that Australia’s new-car market posted a sales record in 2015, with 1,155,408 new passenger cars, SUVs and commercial vehicles rolling off the lot.

That’s 3.8 per cent more than 2014, and 1.7 per cent higher than the previous record, which was set in 2013.

“It is clear that there has never been a better time to buy a new car,” says FCAI chief executive Tony Weber, who puts the increased demand for new models down to constantly improving performance and comfort levels, record affordability, and the plethora of options available to buyers.

SUV sales made a particularly big contribution to the record year, accounting for 35.4 per cent of the market (up from 31.7 per cent in 2014).

Toyota was the top selling brand overall, with 17.8 per cent of the market, and also had the best-selling car, with 42,073 Corolla sales.

It’s not all good news, however, as local manufacturers had a particularly poor year.

Sales of Australian-made cars are now at their lowest level in more than half a century, dropping below 100,000 vehicles for the first time since 1953.

In the space of a single decade, demand for Australian-made cars has halved, going from 248,000 in 2005 to just 97,443 in 2015.

Just how bad is it? Consider this — Mercedes-Benz now sells more passenger vehicles in Australia than Ford.

Ford, which has been building Falcons in Australia since 1960, notched 19,817 passenger car sales in Australia in 2015 (including just 5,968 Falcons). That number falls short of the German giant, which moved 22,817 passenger vehicles in 2015.

Sales of foreign luxury cars were strong across the board, with Ferrari, Maserati, Lamborghini, Aston Martin and Jaguar also seeing sales surge in 2015.

At the same time, Ford and Holden were the only brands to post fewer sales in 2015 than 2014.

The top 10 brands in 2015

  1. Toyota (206,236 vehicles sold in 2015)
  2. Mazda (114,024)
  3. Holden (102,951)
  4. Hyundai (102,004)
  5. Mitsubishi (71,743)
  6. Ford (70,454)
  7. Nissan (66,062)
  8. Volkswagen (60,225)
  9. Subaru (43,600)
  10. Honda (40,100)

The top five cars in 2015

  1. Toyota Corolla (42,073 vehicles sold in 2015)
  2. Mazda3 (38,644)
  3. Toyota HiLux (35,161)
  4. Hyundai i30 (32,306)
  5. Ford Ranger (29,185)

Are you surprised to see Australian manufacturers struggle while foreign luxury brands thrive? Have your say in the comments below!