"After four years of record growth the FCAI had been forecasting a slight decline of total sales in 2006 and the downturn is only a little greater than our initial prediction," said the FCAI’s chief executive, Peter Sturrock.
The dream of selling one million vehicles by the end of 2006 is no longer a reality as current trends say the industry will sell about 970,000 vehicles by year’s end compared with the FCAI’s forecast at the beginning of the year of 980,000 and a record 988,269 in 2005.
Peter Sturrock said the August results were notable for the strong debuts of two new locally manufactured models.
"The enthusiastic reception for the Holden Commodore and Toyota Camry is a great encouragement to the local automotive industry," said Mr Sturrock.
Buyers seems to be rather clued on as to what sort of car they are really after. The small car segment was down 1.3 percent whilst the light car segment had an increase of 31.4 percent.
"As the interest rate rises take effect it is not only the fuel economy of a vehicle that buyers are considering but also the monthly repayment that would be required," said Peter Sturrock.
The Light Truck market was down last month by 8.9 per cent but within that segment the Pick-up/Cab-Chassis 4x4 segment rose by 7.0 per cent. Thankfully, the The Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) market fell by 10.8 per cent in August and year-to-date is now down 7.4 per cent. Less giant 4WDs on the road.
"Fuel economy is clearly the issue affecting SUV sales and it is notable that within that market the sales of Small SUVs are less affected," said Peter Sturrock.
Toyota was Australia’s bestselling vehicle brand in August with a 22.8 per cent share of the market, ahead of Holden (14.5 per cent) and Ford (12.6 per cent). According to official automotive industry figures Toyota sold 18,585 cars in August – an increase of 3.7 per cent over its previous record for the month set last year.
The locally manufactured Camry made a flying start to its sales campaign with a total of 3023 – a record for August and up 45.7 per cent on the number of the previous model sold in August 2005.