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Motor sales to edge higher: FCAI

Famous face: New models such as the next-generation Mazda3 should see Australian new-car volumes remain steady.

Sales set to creep higher in 2014, despite lower fleet sales in recent months

General News logo6 Jan 2014

MOTOR industry authorities are forecasting only marginal growth in Australian car and truck sales in 2014 as demand levels out just above one million units a year.

Announcing record sales of 1,136,227 vehicles in 2013 – up 2.2 per cent over the previous year's record 1,112,032 sales – Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) chief executive Tony Weber said he was expecting this year's market to come in at about 1,145,000 vehicles, up 8773 units on last year and the third successive year of record salesMr Weber said the FCAI viewed 2013 as a strong sales year, even though it had been impacted by a number of issues.

These included proposed fringe benefits tax changes by the previous Labor government, which caused a drop in business fleet sales.

Mr Weber said the reversing of that policy by the new government and a steady economic climate would result in a “modest increase” in Australian vehicle sales.

Australia has averaged more than one million sales a year over the past decade, including successive record years in 2012 and 2013.

Official VFACTS sales figure released today show business fleet vehicle sales were down 5.3 per cent in December, finishing the year down 1.1 per cent.

Market leader Toyota says sales to companies had not bounced back as expected after the federal election, in which the Coalition promised to reverse the changes put forward by the former Labor government earlier in the year.

Worse, government fleet vehicle sales are lagging even further behind, down more than 20 per cent in the 12 months to December 31.

Toyota Australia executive director of sales and marketing Tony Cramb said it was a mystery to his company why business sales had not picked up once the election was out of the way.

He declined to speculate on why governments were buying fewer cars.

In contrast with fleets, private buyers were more buoyant in 2013, taking delivery of 8.1 per cent more vehicles and lifting the market to record levels.

More than half of all vehicles - 583,312 units – went to private buyers, with increasing numbers choosing SUVs or utes.

Mr Cramb also forecast another “solid result” of million-plus sales for the industry in 2014, but declined to put a more specific number on it.

He said said Toyota was also targeting 200,000 units again this year.

Among new arrivals in the Toyota stable this year will be a new Prado and Kluger SUVs and the new Corolla sedan.

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