News - VFACTS - Sales 2004 - January
Car sales January ’04: The record continues
Toyota continues the record sales charge but Mitsubishi slumps badly
5 Feb 2004
By BRUCE NEWTON
THE new vehicle sales rush continued in January, with almost 65,000 sold – a new record for the first month of the year, 5.9 percent greater than the previous record set last year.
Figures released by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries reveal Australians bought 64,797 new vehicles in January, 3,627 more than in the same month last year.
The passenger car market rose 1.7 percent, demand for sports utility vehicles rose 13.5 percent and significantly demand for light trucks was up 14.1 percent.
Last year’s market leader Toyota led January sales with 13,532 deliveries, 1846 vehicle sales ahead of its nearest rival Holden with Ford third a further 3,532 behind.
"Toyota’s January result builds on our success as the number one selling vehicle brand in 2003," said Toyota Australia's executive director of sales and marketing, Dave Buttner.
"We have stated our intention to try to remain Number One in 2004 and we continue to benefit from the processes we put in place last year." However, Holden’s Commodore maintained its position as Australia’s best selling nameplate, with 5110 sales in January, while the Ford Falcon clocked in at 4129 sales. Both results were around 200 units down on January 2003.
Significantly demand for Australian manufactured vehicles grew marginally.
A total of 16,359 locally made Holdens, Fords, Toyota and Mitsubishis were delivered, 130 more than January 2003.
However, while Toyota and Ford were up on the January 2003 result and Holden slipped marginally, Mitsubishi suffered an alarming sales slump to sit sixth on the sales charts for the month behind two importers, Nissan and Mazda. Its sales were nearly 1500 below its result 12 months ago.
Its key vehicles – the locally built Magna V6 and the imported Lancer, Mirage and Pajero were all well off equivalent 2003 sales results.
“Private buyers spent the summer holidays car shopping,“ Peter Sturrock, chief executive of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries said.
“There was substantial increased demand for light, medium and prestige cars – the domain of the private buyer,“ Mr Sturrock said.
“Demand for prestige vehicles was up 61.2 percent so it seems many people were rewarding themselves.” Mr Sturrock said demand in the light commercial vehicle market, which achieved more than 10,000 January deliveries for the first time, showed that business confidence was also high.
The FCAI has confirmed its 2004 market forecast is 900,000 – line ball with last year’s record motor vehicle sales.
The announcement by the RBA yesterday of no increase in interest rates has been welcomed by the motor industry.
“January sales indicated that the late-2003 rate rises have not diminished demand for motor vehicles, and it is unlikely a further small adjustment would have made a difference,“ Mr Sturrock said.
“However the RBA’s decision to achieve stability is welcomed by the industry and by the market.
“While the local motor manufacturing industry remains strong, stability will no doubt assist it in remaining competitive in both domestic and export markets.” There were plenty of records and claims being made after the results were issued: Mazda Australia posted record January retail sales of 3931 for 6.1 per cent market share. That included 1400 orders for the Mazda3 small car during its first two weeks on sale, compared with an anticipated weekly order rate of 425.
Honda claimed a best-ever January sales result, selling 3174 units in January, achieving the highest market share (4.9 per cent) since January 2000 Subaru achieved record January sales of 2508 vehicles. This represents 3.9 per cent of the vehicle market for the month and is 330 units ahead of Subaru's previous January record of 2178 vehicles in 2003.
Kia sales are up a massive 73.2 per cent, making the Korean car maker the fastest growing car maker in Australia and securing its position in the top ten list of Australian car brands.
Chrysler Jeep sold 577 units in January, representing a 32 per cent increase on last year's mark.
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