Sales of Australian-made vehicles in December were the strongest for two years, on the back of spikes for the Toyota Camry and Holden Commodore.
According to VFACTS data released this week, 11,643 Australian-made cars were ‘sold’, up 33.3 per cent. It’s the first time this monthly figure has hit five figures since December 2013.
Intriguingly, more Australian-made vehicles were sold here last month than Korean-made ones (11,138, up 9.8 per cent), despite a yearly discrepancy in the latter’s favour of more than 40,000 units.
It also means that the only more popular sources for vehicles than Australia in December were Japan (28,934) and Thailand (22,573). It’s worth remembering that sales of locally made cars don’t just usually fall behind Korea, but they sometimes fall behind German-made ones too.
The strong month for Australian-made cars stemmed from the performances of the Camry, which topped the market with a massive 5321 sales (up 124.1 per cent), the Commodore (2622, up 30.5 per cent), the Commodore-based Holden Ute (472, up 11.3 per cent), Holden Caprice (93, up 60.3 per cent) and the Ford Falcon ute (191, up 17.2 per cent).
Australian-made cars ranked first (Camry) and sixth (Commodore) overall in the individual model tally for December, while the locally developed Ford Ranger finished fifth.
Other Australian-made wares fared less well. These are the Ford Falcon (333, down 42.4 per cent) and Territory (685, down 12.5 per cent), Holden Cruze (1188, down 22.9 per cent) and Toyota Aurion (829, down 4.4 per cent).
As we have reported, much of the Camry’s staggering volume came from strong Toyota discounting — sharp drive-away deals, no-interest finance and staff incentives — all designed to keep demand high, production levels strong and ergo keeping those factory doors open through 2017.
There’s little doubt that some of these Camry ‘sales’ were also simply ‘plated’ demonstrators that will be cleared this month or next.
Holden was also offering its customarily strong deals on the Commodore.
Naturally, therefore, it is safe to predict that this spike might be something of a statistical anomaly or aberration, but still interesting.
As we know, Ford Australia closes its Australian manufacturing plants this October, while Holden and Toyota will follow suit before the end of 2017.
Australian-market December sales by country of origin: