Don’t be fooled by the auro that surrounds the Australian automotive industry, sales have never been better (with the exception of 2005) and the Industry is improving on last years figures. Speaking of figures, Official VFACTS figures released today by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) show that 76,936 new cars, trucks and buses were sold last month – an increase of 6933 or 9.9 per cent on the record for the month set in January 2006.
The figures show a relatively predictable trend, of smaller and light vehicles helping the boost in sales. Small car sales were up 4105 or 26.3 per cent and Light cars up 1303 or 14.3 per cent.
“This is a long-term trend beyond petrol price volatility, part of a fundamental shift in consumer preferences that’s been gathering momentum for a couple of years,” said the chief executive of the FCAI, Peter Sturrock.
When I was the Brisbane Motorshow Official Launch last friday, the head of Holden, Denny Mooney kept insisting that the Commodore is the best selling car, month by month in Australia. Most of the people in the audience seemed a little unmoved by this, simply because it was a lie.
Once again, In line with the trend, Toyota’s Corolla small car was Australia’s most popular vehicle in January with 3485 sales, narrowly ahead of Holden’s Commodore large car with 3474. Sure its only 11 cars, but 11 cars is 11 cars Mr Mooney!
Its not just small and light cars increasing sales, the Medium SUV sector had an increase in sales by 746 vehicles or 17.24 per cent, while Large car sales levelled out after last year’s decline – down just 81 vehicles or 0.9 per cent.
“The reduction in petrol prices in December and January played a part in better sales of family sedans and wagons, but equally significant was new model activity in both segments,” said Peter Sturrock.
These figures are all well and good, but no one is going to predict that we hit the one million mark this year, the FCAI is forecasting sales of 970,000 in 2007. Still lower than the best all time record set in 2005 at 988,269.
So how did the manufacturers rank? No suprise in the top 3 once again: