Official sales figures for September released today by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) show that despite high interest rates, the upcoming election, and many other uncertainties, Australians are buying more and more new cars.
The bad news first, figures show a 10 per cent decline in the sales of small passenger cars and a 2.3 per cent decline for the passenger car market in general. However as a whole, sales grew by 3496 units or 4.4 per cent compared to the same month last year.
“The decline in passenger car sales last month was narrowly based and entirely due to slower sales in the Small car segment,” said the chief executive of the FCAI, Andrew McKellar.
The September figures put the year-to-date market growth at 8.3 per cent.
“The overall motor vehicle market remains very buoyant and it is notable that sales of larger vehicles such as SUVs and four-wheel-drive utilities are up significantly, suggesting that consumer confidence remains high.” Mr McKellar said.
Showing that small cars are not the saviour of the industry, the Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) market grew by 2666 sales or 20.2 per cent over September 2006 (helped along by the new Toyota Kluger), meanwhile the Pick-up/Cab-chassis 4×4 segment was up 1305 or 23.3 per cent.
Once again Toyota was the bestselling brand last month with 18,358 vehicle sales, ahead of Holden with 11,632 and Ford third with 8818. So far this year Toyota is the top-selling brand with 174,866 – a lead of 62,563 over Holden.
Sales are expected to pick up with a whole range of new models set for launch at next week’s Australian International Motor Show.