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Thai recovery lifts car sales to May record

Back on top: With HiLux supplies back to full strength, market leader Toyota pushed the Australian new-car market to record levels in May.

Unofficial figures show Aussie vehicle sales topped a record 95,000 units in May

General News logo4 Jun 2012

AUSTRALIAN new-vehicle sales last month appear to have defied economic gravity by soaring to a May record of about 95,500 units, according to unofficial figures.

Bouyed by the resumption of Thai vehicle imports in the wake of the devastating floods, the car market seems to have not only beaten last year’s May sales tally by more than 23 per cent, but also eclipsed the May record of 89,218 units set in 2010.

Official VFACTS registration figures are due to be released by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries tomorrow, but they are expected to show that Toyota is back running at full strength, clocking up about 20,000 sales last month.

If so, this is a massive jump of about 80 per cent on Toyota’s lowly 11,044 sales in May last year when the Japanese company was suffering severe stock shortages after the Japanese earthquake and tsunami.

Toyota was just beginning to recover from the knock-on affects of that natural disaster last year when another blow, in the form of the Thai floods, impacted vehicle supply, particularly Toyota’s top seller, the HiLux ute.

HiLux is now making up for lost time, with large shipments arriving to fill pent-up demand. As well, Toyota’s all-new Camry, Camry Hybrid and Aurion are also now in full production.

Ford also appears to have rebounded somewhat, with its Ranger ute achieving about 1500 sales in May as Thai shipments recover.

Ford’s Focus had one of its best sales months since January 2008, with almost 1700 registrations.

The Ford Territory again outsold its stablemate, the Falcon – about 1200 to 1010 – with the big SUV eclipsing Toyota’s Kluger.

Tentative sales figures show Ford regained fourth position for the month, with about 7700 sales, ahead of Hyundai on about 6900.

GM Holden appears to be one of the losers, with sales slipping from 11,115 in May last year to about 9000 this year.

Holden will be sweating on this month’s belated showroom debut of its new Colorado after months without full supply, which has put a major hole in its armoury over the past few months.

Third-placed Mazda came within about 700 units of Holden in May sales.

One manufacturer to go public with its May sales result today was Suzuki, which said it had enjoyed its best May sales on record – 2450 units – which was also the importer’s second-best monthly tally on record.

Suzuki has attributed this success to its high-profile sponsorship of the high-rating TV show The Block.

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