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News - VFACTS - Sales 2005 - January

VFACTS: Sales speed along to record

Zoom, zoom: Mazda3 outsold Toyota Corolla in the small car segment.

Import tariff reductions help car sales race to yet another record

8 Feb 2005

AUSTRALIAN consumers have continued to purchase new vehicles in record numbers, showing no signs of post-Christmas credit distress and taking advantage of better deals as a consequence of the five per cent import tariff reduction.

According to VFACTS figures from the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, 69,565 vehicles were sold last month.

This marks a 7.4 per cent increase on the record set 12 months earlier and maintains the auto sector’s march toward the ‘magic million’ sales mark. The FCAI’s official forecast remains at 980,000 for total vehicle sales in 2005.

"Any concern that the car industry might have a quiet start to the year has been laid to rest," said FCAI chief executive Peter Sturrock.

"Clearly, the January tariff cut from 15 to 10 per cent on imported passenger cars has reduced prices and stimulated sales across many brands … and we are confident that given the strong economic indicators the market will continue to trend upwards." Last month, the passenger car market rose 5.8 per cent month-on-month, light trucks increased 6.1 per cent and the SUV market continued its meteoric rise with a 12.5 per cent increase over the same period in 2004.

The latter lends weight to research released this week by Toyota Australia – still the Australian sales leader – indicating that crossover wagons could be replacing the large sedan as the preferred choice for Australian families.

106 center image In its research, Toyota found almost of a third of purchasers of Kluger 4WD (pictured) had previously owned a large six-cylinder sedan, that 10 per cent owned a medium-sized sedan and a further nine per cent owned a prestige vehicle.

"That Kluger is capturing about half of all its buyers from traditional sedans suggests that crossover SUVs might be redefining the traditional image of the typical Australian family car," said Toyota Australia’s executive director sales and marketing Dave Buttner.

Last month’s results tell a similar tale. Notwithstanding the inclusion of fleet sales in these figures, a tad over 10,000 large cars were driven off dealer forecourts (down 11 per cent on the same period in 2003) while almost 14,000 SUVs took off.

Medium SUV sales continued to rise, increasing 43 per cent month-on-month as Ford Australia notched up another circa-1500-unit total with its Territory – helping the manufacturer to a record month for SUV sales – and combined Prado/Kluger sales exceeded 1700.

Compact SUVs were up 12.5 per cent over January 2004, although tempering the figures were luxury SUVs down 18 per cent and large SUVs down 15 per cent.

Among the passenger vehicle segments, small cars increased 15 per cent (Mazda3 outsold Corolla), medium cars rose 22 per cent, prestige cars 24 per cent, people-movers 34 per cent, light cars four per cent and sports cars 42 per cent.

Luxury cars were down 17 per cent and large cars 11 per cent, although in raw-number terms sales of the latter are still well above SUVs. Holden sold 4225 Commodores (for a 42 per cent share), Ford sold 3514 Falcons (35 per cent) and Toyota and Mitsubishi were neck and neck with 1105 Camry V6/Avalon sales (11 per cent) versus 1023 Magna/Verada sales (10.2 per cent).

Camry 2.4 dominated medium-car sales with 1860 units (44 per cent), ahead of the still strong Mazda6 on 1324 units (31 per cent).

Toyota leads Holden and Ford for overall market share – it holds 19.5 per cent, compared to 17.6 for the Lion and 13.1 for the Blue Oval – while an all-time record of 5726 sales for Mazda handed the brand its best-ever share of 8.2 per cent and fourth position overall.

It leads Nissan on 6.2 per cent, Mitsubishi (6.0), Honda (5.1), Hyundai (4.5) and Subaru on 4.2, the latter representing the niche Japanese manufacturer’s highest share since it achieved 4.4 per cent in January 1992.

Kia rounds out the top 10 with 2.9 per cent market share.

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