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News - VFACTS - Sales 2004 - July

July VFACTS: No record!

SUV sales surge: Toyota is benefiting from the growth in demand for off-roaders.

Aussie vehicle sales are still strong, with Toyota leading the way

5 Aug 2004

IT might seem almost unimaginable, but Australians did not buy new vehicles in record numbers in July.

It was the first time since March 2003 that a new year-on-year monthly sales record has not been set.

However, with overall sales still 5.3 per cent ahead of 2003, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries remains convinced that the tally for the year will still reach 960,000, shattering last year’s 909,811 record.

What does appear to be disappearing from view is the prospect of the first ever one million vehicle market.

VFACTS figures released yesterday showed that 77,035 vehicles were sold last month - down 2486 or 3.1 per cent on July 2003.

Despite the fall, all-conquering Toyota increased its sales year-on-year, while both Holden and Ford sales declined.

Toyota sold 16,199 vehicles in July, while Holden sold 14,040 and Ford 11,551.

Year-to-date, Toyota remains the market leader with 116,926 sales, ahead of Holden (102,421) and Ford (75,885).

The fourth local manufacturer, Mitsubishi had a horror month after showing some evidence of a revival in June. It managed just 3538 sales to fall to seventh place in the ranking s for the month, outsold by importers Nissan, Mazda and even a surging Honda.

For the year so far Mitsubishi is languishing in sixth place and is pretty much resigned to finishing there or fifth. Despite the launch of a series of new models in recent weeks it is the slow sales of the locally-built Magna which is its core problem.

Just 842 were sold in July, and for the year to date Magna is 5029 sales behind 2003.

The large car market is generally down on 2003, with run-out Holden VY II Commodore off 6122 sales, although it led the market in July and remains Australia’s biggest selling model. The BA Falcon is down 3097 sales compared to 2003 and trails the Commodore overall by 5708 sales.

Toyota was the biggest winner in terms of categories in July, while other category leaders were Holden, Ford, Kia, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan and BMW.

One of Ford’s wins came in the Medium SUV segment where the new Territory sold 1681 examples to claim the previously dominant Toyota Prado’s scalp.

FCAI Chief Executive Peter Sturrock said that the July decline was not indicative of the heat going out of vehicle sales..

“The Australian motor vehicle industry has enjoyed a significant long term growth in sales volumes - more than 15 per cent in four years - but this is not a sudden peak or aberration,” he said.

“We believe the market has now shifted into a higher gear and it will remain running at somewhere near its current pace for the foreseeable future.” Mr Sturrock said that year to date increased sales of Light Commercials (up 14.6 per cent), Heavy Commercial Vehicles (up 19.9 per cent) and Sports Utility Vehicles (up 13.2 per cent) indicate that consumers are confident and business conditions remain strong.

Other points worth noting in the July results included: • Holden’s move to cut Adventra pricing by $4000 had no impact on sales, with just 212 sold. Similarly, the Barina didn’t kick up despite its $13,990 introductory pricing and the Astra dropped behind the Mazda3 in small car despite the arrival of the $18,990 Classic.

• V6 Camry is a direct beneficiary of the Magna’s slump. The Toyota recorded an 18.9 per cent increase in sales over July 2003. Camry V6's share of the large car market was 8.2 per cent in July, up from 7.4 per cent year-to-date.

• The Ford Falcon reclaimed 4x2 utility leadership back from Commodore, while the Ford Fiesta recorded its best performance since it went on sale late in the first quarter, finishing the month with 411 retail sales.

• Chrysler and Jeep have achieved combined sales of 542 units in July taking year to date sales to 4,159, an 11 per cent increase on last years figure.

• Mazda’s July performance was its second best on record selling 4666 vehicles, enough to grab fifth place. Year-to-date Mazda has sold 33,479 cars and commercials, an increase of 2586 or 8.4 per cent over the first seven months of last year. It has a target of 56,000 sales for 2004.

• Honda Australia set another monthly sales record with 3548 units sold in July – 15 units more than the previous best ever sales record set last month. July also saw Honda post its best ever year to date result of 21,662 units.

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