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June sales set to pip record

Sales king: Toyota's HiLux ute has again topped the Australian sales charts after a strong month for light commercial vehicles.

Vehicle market keeps on trucking with massive June sales threatening record

3 Jul 2012

A MEGA month of ute and SUV sales in June appears to have propelled the Australian motor vehicle industry to its biggest sales month in its 100-plus-year history – but only just.

Market leader Toyota sold more than 20,000 cars for the second successive month, helping to drive national sales beyond June 2010’s record tally of 108,722 vehicles, if only by a few hundred units, preliminary figures indicate.

Official VFACTS registration figures to be handed down by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries tomorrow are expected to show that a number of importers smashed their monthly sales records as the market eclipsed June 2011’s sales figure by about 14 per cent.

Industry analysts expect the final tally for last month to come in at 109,000 or 110,000, topping the 100,000 mark in a month for the sixth time and putting the industry well on track for a million-plus market.

June is traditionally a big month, bloated by end-of-financial-year sales activity, but the sales environment last month was supercharged by the arrival of ships carrying fresh stocks of vehicles in short supply after the Thai flood devastation, along with new key models.

One vehicle still playing catch-up was the Toyota HiLux ute, which followed its huge May with another 4300 sales in June to again top the Australian sales charts.

Likewise, Nissan’s Navara found more than 3000 new owners, while the Ford Ranger had its best sales month in two years, with more than 1200 sales.

106 center imageFrom top: Ford Territory Mazda CX-5 Honda Civic hatch Nissan Navara.

SUVs also had a mammoth month, with Mazda’s CX-5 topping the 4x4 sales charts with more than 1900 units, while Ford’s home-grown Territory achieved its best monthly sales in five years, selling about 1800 units.

Toyota’s June result completes the Japanese company’s recovery from the lows of last year when its vehicle supply was pounded by the Japanese earthquake and tsunami and then again by the Thai floods from October.

In June last year, Toyota sold just 12,514 vehicles – about half its June record performance of 25,624 units in 2007.

GoAuto understands Toyota reported about 21,600 sales last month, an increase of more than 70 per cent over the lows of 2011.

While Toyota has come back, rival Holden struggled last month in the absence of new Colorado ute stock and a decline in sales of its locally made Commodore.

Figures swapped by leading car companies this week indicate Holden sold just 10,600 units – down more than 2000 units on the same month last year.

Commodore’s slump of almost 30 per cent over last year, to about 2700 sales in June this year, was compounded by a decline in sales of Holden’s other locally made model, the Cruze, which slipped from 3387 sales last year to about 3057 vehicles in June this year.

Mazda and Hyundai are expected to vie for third place in June with about 9500 sales – a record for both.

However, Hyundai Australia declined to swap sales registration figures with other manufacturers this month, throwing some doubt on the final rankings.

The decision by Hyundai appears to follow a controversial last-minute increase in official sales figures for Nissan last month, after the release of preliminary numbers showing Hyundai leading the Japanese importer.

This time around, Nissan reported about 8400 sales last month – a handy increase over its 6374-vehicle performance in June 2011.

Ford wrapped up the month with 9140 sales, on par with its June performance last year and helped by stronger sales of Territory.

Like the Commodore, Ford’s Falcon sedan slipped more than 20 per cent on June last year, to 1431 units, although that represents its best sales month for the year.

German company Volkswagen continued its push into the big league with a 6000-unit month, up more than 20 per cent on the same period last year.

Traditional rivals Honda and Subaru traded blows with strong sales around the 4100 mark, placing them in the top 10 ahead of Kia, despite the latter’s record monthly score of about 3400 vehicles.

Honda Australia’s Lindsay Smalley said Honda’s result could have been bigger except that key shipments of stock from the newly resuscitated Thai manufacturing centre arrived too late in the month to make much impact.

Mr Smalley said key models were still in short supply, but July would be better, with extra shipments rolling in.

Honda has just launched the British-made Civic hatch, and this month releases the revised Civic sedan to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the small car.

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