News - VFACTS
FCAI boss hints at sales data system review
Sales or registrations: The 2012 car sales figures in Australia have been called into question over claims of thousands of unsold ‘demonstrator’ registrations.
Car sales data system to stay for now despite widespread demonstrator registrations
4 January 2013
AUSTRALIA’S motor industry peak body, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), has come to the defence of the current system of counting car sales from state registration data, despite anecdotal reports of widespread registration of ‘dealer demonstrators’ at the encouragement of some motor companies to artificially boost sales figures in 2012.
However, FCAI chief executive Tony Weber hinted that the practice might be reviewed by the chamber this year.
The industry defence is that all sales – whether as demonstrators or new cars – come out in the wash via registration data.
Mr Weber said the FCAI – which employs Polk to compile the official VFACTS sales figures from state data on behalf of the industry – had no reason to doubt the 2012 figures “at this point”.
“The reality is you cannot bring forth sales and make that a sustainable measure because ultimately those cars need to be sold, and these cars are sold in the market,” he said
Asked if the FCAI might consider asking car companies to separately record dealer demonstrators figures in the data, he replied: “We can have a look at that in 2013, but at the moment the VFACTS system will remain in place.”
Some dealers have told GoAuto that thousands of cars were registered by dealers at the behest of car companies who provided financial incentives to make it happen in the lead up to Christmas.
The dealers have been left with yards of new but registered cars that have to be moved at discount prices over the new few weeks.
But Mr Weber said he did not believe that the industry faced a sales slump in the first few months of 2013 due to the practice.
“Demonstrators have always been part of the market and they will continue to be,” he said.
“The fact that they need to be sold later means that competition is driving down prices.
“We have an incredibly open and competitive market, more open than any other market around the world. It is purely supply and demand at work.”
For years, car manufacturers have manipulated the figures by registering cars themselves or getting dealers to do it, usually to achieve pre-set sales targets or to beat rivals in the annual sales joust.
In 2012, however, dealers under pressure from certain car-makers to engage in the practice have started to complain about the numbers of vehicles involved and the pressure tactics used.
The system raises questions as to how many of the 1.11 million vehicles registered by December 31 actually ended up in customer garages by the time the sales year ended.
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