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by George Skentzos

A statement released today by the FCAI has revealed that Australian new vehicle sales remain strong despite higher interest rates and fuel prices.

The official VFACTS figures show that 88,640 cars, trucks and buses were sold in May – an increase of 43 vehicles on the same month last year.

While this may seem like a nominal increase, the car market is still up 4 percent on 2007 – which was an all-time record year with over one million cars sold.

The figures reveal the passenger car market has dropped slightly by 2.5 percent whilst the SUV and light commercial market continues to boom despite higher fuel costs.

Utility sales have remained particularly strong with the pick-up/cab-chassis 4×4 segment rising by 5.7 percent over May last year, while the van segment rose 22.5 percent.

FCAI chief executive Andrew McKellar said an increasing number of passenger vehicles and SUVs are being bought with clean-diesel engines.

“The traditional image of diesel vehicles has changed,” he said. “Diesel vehicles can provide significant benefits in terms of fuel efficiency and reduced carbon emissions but have good power and performance.”

Toyota remains the top-selling manufacturer, becoming the first car company to exceed 100,000 sales in the first five months of the calendar year with Australian’s buying 101,816 Toyota cars and trucks between January 1 and the end of May this year.

Australian car market still strong

Holden and Ford are still trailing in second and third place, with their combined sales still less than that of Toyota’s – having sold 55,155 and 44,183 cars each respectively in the same period.

GM Holden’s John Lindsay has said these results were largely due to the fact Holden has stopped building the Crewman and production has not yet begun on the new Commodore VE Wagon.

“May saw our strongest monthly sales of sedan YTD, which has been supported by strong sales of 60th Anniversary Commodore models. Overall numbers are on a par with the same month in 2007.”

Sales of the new Holden Ute are also strong, up 52 percent on May last year – 86 percent overall on the equivalent YTD in 2007.






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