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by Tim Beissmann

Toyota Australia has predicted 2011 will become just the fourth year to crack one million new vehicle sales.

The prediction is slightly more ambitious than the seasonally adjusted annual rate published by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, which sets the 2011 total at 997,000.  Last year, a total of 1,035,574 new vehicles were registered in Australia from January to December.

Toyota Australia’s senior executive director sales and marketing, David Buttner, predicted a sales surge over the next four months to push the market over the one million milestone.

“Unprecedented mining, construction and infrastructure investments are driving the Australian economy,” Mr Buttner said.

“Automotive producers such as Toyota are benefiting from strong demand for new vehicles being generated as a result of these huge injections of capital.”

Mr Buttner used the example of the Toyota HiLux, which still sold in strong numbers in August despite yesterday’s launch of the upgraded 2012 Toyota HiLux model.

After the first eight months of the year, 665,309 new passenger cars, SUVs and commercial vehicles have been sold in Australia, some 30,357 vehicles (or 4.4 per cent) off the pace of the same time in 2010.

The passenger car market is responsible for most of the reduction, with 26,045 fewer passenger cars sold year-to-date in 2011 than in 2010. All segments have lost ground this year, led by the sports-car (-22.2 per cent) and large-car (-20.3 per cent) classes.

The only segments to increase volume in 2011 are compact SUV (+4.9 per cent), luxury SUV (+18.9 per cent) and pick-up/cab-chassis 4×4 (+6.7 per cent).

Mr Buttner said demand still exceeded supply for the Kluger, Prado SUVs and Toyota’s commercial vehicles.

“We are pushing hard to get extra allocations for Australia of sought-after vehicles and variants to meet the consistently strong customer orders,” he said.

“We are also well placed for an orderly run-out of our locally produced four-cylinder Camry, Camry Hybrid and V6 Aurion ahead of new models.”

Mr Buttner confirmed the seventh-generation Camry was still on track for a late-November launch, while the Hybrid Camry would follow in the first quarter of 2012. The updated 2012 Toyota Aurion has been pushed back slightly to the second quarter of next year.

What do you think? Will Australia crack the million for just the fourth time, or will the market pull up short? Let us know in the comments section below.

Read CarAdvice’s full August VFACTS report.




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