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It has finally happened and 2007 was the year for it. Australians have for the first time bought more than one million new motor vehicles in a single year.

VFACTS sales figures released a few hours ago by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) show that the one million mark was beaten by almost 50,000 sales, with the final number reaching 1,049,982 cars, trucks and buses. This is an increase of 87,316 or 9.1 percent over 2006.

The second best year on record is 2005 with 988,269 sales. If you think about it, there are only 21 million of us, so for over one million new cars to be sold each year, it is quite an impressive feat.

One million new motor vehicles sales in a country of 21 million people is an impressive achievement by the Australian automotive industry – and ranks as one of the highest rates of new car purchase in the developed world,” said FCAI chief executive Andrew McKellar.

toyota_logo.jpgThe growth has been steady for the last few years, with last year’s figures showing an improvement of 277,000 vehicles (35 per cent) since 2001 – which by no means correlates to population growth.

According to the FCAI 2008 should see yet another 1,000,000 record.

Last year the motor vehicle market grew at approximately twice the rate of the economy as a whole, although economic fundamentals remain strong and consumer confidence is proving to be robust, we think future growth will be more closely aligned with trends in overall domestic demand.” said Andrew McKellar.

So the big question, what was the best selling car.

  1. Holden Commodore – 57,307 sales.
  2. Toyota Corolla – 47,792 sales
  3. Toyota HiLux – 42,009

Yep, the HiLux was the third best selling vehicle last year, not bad for Toyota which managed to sell five of the eight most popular vehicles.

The rise in numbers have been due to a boom in some unexpected segments such as SUVs and light commercial vehicles. The SUV market grew by 16.0 per cent – a big change from its dismal year in 2006. The 4×4 segment managed a 22.3 per cent growth. Small cars were up 5.9 per cent, light cars up 10.2 percent.

The trend towards smaller cars continued with the category remaining the largest volume segment of the market with 232,388 sales, (large cars only managed 139,677 sales).

However according to McKeller, it would be far too simplistic to conclude that there is a general move by Australian consumers to smaller cars.

“While sales of smaller cars have been growing strongly, in 2007 sales of SUVs and 4×4 Pick-ups grew even faster.” said Andrew McKellar.

The top three brands were unchanged with Toyota taking out the first place for the fifth year in a row with 22.5 per cent share of the total market, Holden managed second with 14.0 per cent and Ford was third with 10.3 per cent.