The Australian automotive industry’s positive start to 2010 continued in February with a significant increase in sales of new vehicles over last month as well as February 2009.
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Official VFACTS data released by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) shows that 82,219 passenger cars, SUVs and commercial vehicles were sold in February, up 17.1 percent (11,978 vehicles) on the same month in 2009.

The biggest mover by marque was Hyundai, stepping up into third position for the first time in the brand’s history, leap-frogging both Ford and Mazda in the past month.

Top 10 sales by marque:

  1. Toyota – 16,814
  2. Holden – 11,213
  3. Hyundai – 7208
  4. Ford – 7148
  5. Mazda – 7003
  6. Mitsubishi – 5026
  7. Nissan – 4596
  8. Subaru – 3278
  9. Honda – 3102
  10. Volkswagen – 2998

The Korean’s charge was led by the i30, with sales jumping 810 from January alone. Year-to-date (YTD) sales of the i30 are currently 128 percent above 2009.

The Commodore strengthened its lead over the Mazda3 and the Toyota Hilux while the Falcon slipped out of the top five.

The Toyota Yaris was the only vehicle to drop outside the top ten compared to last month, replaced by a resurgent Camry which climbed 1201 sales over January.

Top 10 sales by model:

  1. Holden Commodore – 3914
  2. Mazda3 – 3390
  3. Toyota Hilux – 3271
  4. Toyota Corolla – 3042
  5. Hyundai i30 – 2926
  6. Ford Falcon – 2514
  7. Toyota Camry – 2116
  8. Holden Cruze – 2075
  9. Mitsubishi Lancer – 2016
  10. Hyundai Getz – 1927

FCAI Chief Executive, Andrew McKellar, said private buyers returned to the market in stronger numbers in February (up 9.3 percent compared to 2009), while business sales (up 22.7 percent) and sales to rental companies (up 175 percent) were also positive.

“This is a very strong result and provides further evidence of renewed growth in vehicle sales. It is encouraging to see private buyers edging back into the market following the financial concerns of the past year.“Deliveries of vehicles purchased under the business tax break are gradually phasing down and we need to examine how the market will look without the impact of economic stimulus,” he said.

Looking ahead, Mr McKellar said sustaining the confidence of private buyers was the key challenge for the economy.

“For that reason we continue to be cautious about the impact of interest rate increases,” he said.

The light and small car segments stretched their lead at the top of the sales charts, with their combined 30,110 units accounting for 45.7 percent of all passenger vehicles sold (including SUVs).

The upper large segment was the only one to lose ground on February 2009, dropping 15.5 percent. The Holden Statesman/Caprice continues to dominate this segment, with its sales accounting for 157 of 240 upper large vehicles sold in February 2010.

Locally manufactured vehicles made up 12,391 of the total 82,219 market, with Japan (28,864), Korea (13,870) and Thailand (11,863) leading the imports.

Holden’s 5233 locally manufactured sales result was up 1039 over last year as was Toyota’s (3014 from 2532), however Ford dropped 66 units to 4143.

And in perhaps the most surprising result of the month, Mitsubishi incredibly sold one 380 sedan, almost two years after production ceased in March 2008.