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Small Cars Lead in Softer Motor Vehicle Market

The growth in sales of light cars continued in February against the background of a general softening in the Australian motor vehicle market.

Official VFACTS figures released today by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) show that 77,466 vehicles were sold last month - a drop of 3695 or 4.6 per cent on February 2005.

Sales in the Light passenger car segment, however, grew by 1097 or 13.8 percent.

It is the 31st month in a row that Light car sales have set a new record.

A slight (0.4 per cent) drop in Small car sales in February compared to the same month last year interrupted a 12-month run of strong sales growth in the segment.

"For the last few years the Light car segment has contributed significantly to the market’s overall volume growth," said the Chief Executive of the FCAI, Peter Sturrock.

"That Light cars posted another significant gain February against the run of play is probably due to continuing consumer fuel economy concerns combined with the recent introduction of some significant new models to the segment."

Mr Sturrock said last month’s overall sales result was excellent even though it did not set a record.

"It’s still the second best February result ever and it’s far too early to extrapolate any trend for the year from this result," he said.

"We are confident that the market remains very robust and on track to reach our annual sales forecast of 980,000."

The overall passenger car market fell 1.6 per cent in February, while the Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) market fell 9.0 per cent.

The Light Truck market, however, rose by 4.4 per cent of February last year.

"The market for light commercial vehicles continues to be very healthy and there is some evidence that some of these vehicles are being purchased by private buyers for recreational purposes," said Mr Sturrock.

Toyota remained market leader in February with 16,173 sales, ahead of Holden (13,305) and Ford (10,426).

Year to date, Toyota now leads Holden by 5748.

For further information contact:
Sheena Ireland, Communications Manager
P: 02 6229 8221
M: 0458 038 555
E: sheena.ireland@fcai.com.au