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by Tim Beissmann

Australia’s peak automotive industry body is confident Australians will once again buy in excess of 1.1 million new vehicles this year, but has stopped short of predicting a record sales tally after 2014’s total fell short of its initial forecast.

Last January, Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries CEO Tony Weber (pictured) predicted the market would hit 1.145 million new vehicle sales in 2014, though today he announced it fell more than 30,000 units short.

Official VFACTS figures reveal Australians purchased 1,113,224 new passenger cars, SUVs and light-commercial vehicles last year, down 2.0 per cent on 2013’s record tally of 1,136,227.

The result still represents the second largest calendar year of sales, however, and means more than 1.1 million cars have now been registered in Australia for the past three years.

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Weber said 2014’s failure to live up to his record-breaking forecast was directly related to cooling markets in Queensland and Western Australia, where almost 20,000 fewer vehicles were sold compared with 2013.

Sales in almost all states declined by between 1.2 and 9.7 per cent (South Australia the least and Tasmania the most). New South Wales was the exception, with sales increasing 1.5 per cent.

“The mining boom investment phase has come off,” Weber explained. “Eighty-six per cent of the decline has come in two states alone (Queensland and WA), they are the reasons behind it.

“But it’s an incredibly good number – the second biggest ever and the third year we’ve broken 1.1 million, which for a country this size is quite a remarkable number.”

Despite his optimism for 2015, Weber is more conservative in his forecasts this year, suggesting only that he expects the market to hit “around about the same number of 1.1 million again”.

“It’s really hard to say where the actual number will drop. We think it will be another strong year, but whether it will be a record year or not is difficult to actually ascertain.

“It depends on a lot of things that happen throughout the year, where the economy goes, and decisions made by governments at all levels.”

Read CarAdvice’s comprehensive 2014 car sales: winners and losers wrap for our in depth industry sales analysis.




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