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News - VFACTS - Sales 2004 - May

May VFACTS: Sales charge continues

Sales Territory: First month in the charts and Ford's new Territory was second in medium SUV.

Toyota continues to lead 2004 sales in May, but Ford's Territory impresses

3 Jun 2004

PETROL prices have had no immediate effect on motor vehicle sales, with the automotive industry pushing to its 13th successive record month.

Australians bought a record 78,279 motor vehicles in May, 17 more than the previous record for the month set 12 months ago.

Toyota continued its perfect 2004 run to be market leader in May with 15,859 sales, followed by Holden (14,921) and Ford (11.004). Year-to-date Toyota leads Holden with a margin of 7732 vehicle sales, or 2.1 market share points.

Figures released today by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) show that year-to-date sales are now 25,159 vehicles or 7.2 per cent ahead of 2003’s record tally.

On current trends the market will reach the chamber’s 2004 forecast of a new record of 960,000 vehicles, while many less conservative members of the auto industry are predicting one million sales.

FCAI chief executive Peter Sturrock said it was too early for the automotive market to show any trend as a result of recent petrol price rises.

"While sales in the large passenger car segment were down, so were small car sales," said Mr Sturrock.

"In fact, at the same time sales of medium and large Sports Utility Vehicles (SUV) and Prestige cars were up, which suggests fuel economy has not yet become a higher priority amongst buyers." The medium SUV segment was up 53.2 per cent on the same month last year, while year-to-date the total SUV market is now running 13.4 per cent ahead of the record set in 2003.

Sales of medium SUVs were boosted substantially by the introduction of the Australian-made Ford Territory, which accounted for two-thirds of the segment’s volume growth in May.

In total, there were 1046 Territorys registered although how many of them were actual retail deliveries was unknown, considering official sales did not begin until June 1. That figure is about half Ford’s monthly sales target for the new cross-over wagon.

Nevertheless, the first month's registrations are enough to instantly place Territory second in its category, ahead of Mitsubishi's Pajero and behind the Toyota Prado.

Sales of prestige cars rose by 79 per cent month-on-month.

The light truck market is also performing strongly - up 12.3 per cent over the same month last year and up 19.3 per cent year-to-date.

Mr Sturrock said the continued record sales of light commercial vehicles suggested underlying business conditions remained strong.

"There is every indication that the market is poised for substantial competitive activity at the end of the 2003/04 financial year," said Mr Sturrock.

"Traditionally, June is a very strong business month for fleet and owner-operators as they seek tax advantages." "Indications are that Australia’s local manufacturers will be strongly competitive in the large car market."

106 center image Segment-by-segment Toyota was the big winner in May, leading the Light, Small, Medium, SUV Medium, SUV Large, Light Bus, Van and Pick-Up/Cab Chassis 4x4 categories.

Holden cleaned up in Large Passenger where Commodore outsold Falcon 6275 to 5204, won Sports with Monaro and took Pick-Up/Cab Chassis where Commodore outsold Falcon 1719 to 1692.

Others to claim segments were Kia (People-Mover), Honda (Prestige), BMW (Luxury and Luxury SUV) and Nissan (Compact SUV).

Mitsubishi’s plight continued in May, with combined Magna/Verada sales barely topping 1000 and falling well behind combined Toyota Camry/Avalon sales. No doubt, speculation over the future of local assembly operations were a factor.

Mitsubishi’s poor fortunes are also reflected in its close tussle with importers Nissan and Mazda for the number four position in the sales chart. It is the only member of the top 10 to have dropped sales this year, although both Ford and Holden are down in percentage terms, Holden not helped by a dip of nearly 5000 in Commodore sedan/wagon sales.

In other May sales news: * Subaru achieved record May sales of 2912 vehicles. Subaru year-to-date sales are now 15.3 per cent up on the same period in 2003.

* Mazda Australia retailed 4856 vehicles last month - its best May result. The May total was up 9.6 per cent on the same month last year and takes the company’s year-to-date sales to 23,270 vehicles or 12.3 per cent more than last year.

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