Official VFACTS figures released today by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) indicate that 83,976 new cars, trucks and buses found new owners in July - a shortfall of 2,315 vehicles (2.7%) compared to July 2007.
Either way, the year-to-date figures are still optimistic, being 2.6 per cent above last year's record highs. Whether or not 2008 will top 2007's all-time record is still to be seen.
"Higher fuel prices, interest rates and the wider economic uncertainty have resulted in a slowing of people heading to showrooms," FCAI chief executive Andrew McKellar said.
The 2.7 per cent fall could partially be attributed to the proposed luxury car tax hike, which has led to a 33 per cent decrease in the sales of so-called 'luxury' in July compared to June.
"The proposed tax hike has had a devastating impact on new car sales, it is clear that the downturn has been exacerbated by the impact of this unfair tax hike, and the industry has significant concerns that orders will continue to be affected in coming months," Mr McKellar said.
Mr McKellar emphasis that if the situation continues, the Federal government will fail to collect the additional revenue it had projected, plus there is a very possible risk that the tax hike will cost jobs.
"In these circumstances, one would have to question why the government would pursue this tax increase," he said.
Segment by segment, most suffered a decrease in sales except for light cars (up 1.0%), SUV medium (up 8.1%), SUV large (up 7.4%). and Light Commercial vehicle (up 6.3 per cent) compared to the same month last year.
Once again Toyota set the benchmark for the month, coming in first with a massive 24.4 per cent of the market share, followed by GM Holden with 13.3 per cent and Ford with 11.3 per cent.
The figures shows the Big T has sold 147,961 new vehicles so far this year with Holden having found 78,271 buyers will Ford is coming in a comfortable third with 63,933 sales.
Toyota also made another landmark, being the first manufacturer to sell more than 20,000 vehicles in the month of July.