Car market accelerates despite interest rates

5th March, 2008

FCAI Chief Executive Mr Andrew McKellar: "The February sales result shows that underlying demand from private buyers and business remains very robust."

Sales in both January and February have set records for those months, building on a record annual total of more than one million new cars in 2007.

"The February sales result is very pleasing for the automotive industry and shows that underlying demand from private buyers and business remains very robust, reflecting continued outstanding levels of vehicle affordability," said FCAI Chief Executive Andrew McKellar.

The diversity of market trends was shown by the fact that small cars and large Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) were once again the main drivers of market growth in February.

Light car sales rose by 2,236 or 22.5 per cent, the Small car segment rose by 1,645 or 8.6 per cent and the SUV market grew by 3,365 vehicles or 22.6 per cent.

These gains were partially countered by declines in the Large car (down 2,488 or 19.9 per cent) and Medium car (down 383 or 5.1 per cent) segments.

"The volumes in the Large and Medium segments have been affected by the run-out of several key models. As new models become available in the coming months we would expect to see some turn-around," said Andrew McKellar.

Mr McKellar said a notable facet of the motor vehicle market last month was the large volume of vehicles being bought by businesses.

Sales of tool-of-trade Pick-up/cab-chassis 4x2 utilities rose by 1,184 or 22.0 per cent, while the Van segment rose by 602 or 39.1 per cent.

Toyota was the top-selling brand in February with 23.0 per cent of the market, ahead of Holden with 13.8 per cent and Ford with 10.5 per cent.

Year-to-date Toyota now leads Holden by 15,916 sales.

For further information:
Mr Andrew McKellar
Chief Executive

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