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August Car sales Set New Record

Record sales of motor vehicles in August have brought the total number of cars and trucks delivered in this year to close to 600,000, with one third of the sales year still to go.

Figures released by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries today reveal Australians bought 76,173 vehicles in August, beating the previous August record set in 2000 by 328 vehicles.

Cumulative sales for the year have now reached 598,897, 52,502 more than last year - a rise of 9.6 percent.

Every sales month this year except March has been a new record and sales for the first and second quarters have also been records.

The March result of 76,113 fell just 898 short of the monthly record set in 1999.

FCAI chief executive Peter Sturrock said today the industry would consider reviewing its annual forecast in time for the Sydney Motor Show in October, after the third quarter results had been received.

The FCAI has already made two revisions this year - from an initial forecast of 825,000 up to an estimate of 875,000 sales.

"The strength of the market is astounding," Mr Sturrock said.

"Competitive activity amongst the local manufacturers, and the positive effect of exchange rates on imported vehicles has combined to create the most buoyant market on record.

"It's as if people have decided there has never been a better time to buy a car."

Mr Sturrock said it was possible increasing housing prices had left private buyers with disposable income that they were unable to spend on a home purchase.

Toyota scored its fifth monthly victory in August with 15,210 sales, clear of Holden, winner of the other three months, on 14,334.

Toyota continues to lead yearly sales with 122,344 deliveries, now 5,489 vehicles ahead of Holden with Ford third on 83,445.

"Importers Nissan and Mazda, currently fifth and sixth largest sellers, were now on track to achieve a 50,000 vehicle sales year each," Mr Sturrock said.

Both brands delivered more than 5000 vehicles in August to achieve a cumulative total of 36,023 for Mazda and 37,894 for Nissan.

In 2002 Mazda finished the full year in sixth place with sales of 39,152 - only marginally more than its current total.

The battle for eighth place was particularly tight. Honda leads with 19,665 cumulative sales, just 197 clear of Subaru.

For further information:
Peter Sturrock