The Australian automotive industry has made a storming start to 2007, notching up record sales in January.
Official VFACTS figures released today by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) show that 76,936 new cars, trucks and buses were sold last month - an increase of 6933 or 9.9 per cent on the record for the month set in January 2006.
Most of the increase was due to a continued boom in the popularity of small and light cars.
Small car sales were up 4105 or 26.3 per cent and Light cars up 1303 or 14.3 per cent.
"This is a long-term trend beyond petrol price volatility, part of a fundamental shift in consumer preferences that's been gathering momentum for a couple of years," said the Chief Executive of the FCAI, Peter Sturrock.
In line with the trend, Toyota's Corolla small car was Australia's most popular vehicle in January with 3485 sales, narrowly ahead of Holden's Commodore large car with 3474.
Conversely, the January market saw strong performances in the family vehicle sectors of SUV Medium and Large car.
Medium SUV sales rose 746 vehicles or 17.24 per cent, while Large car sales levelled out after last year's decline - down just 81 vehicles or 0.9 per cent.
"The reduction in petrol prices in December and January played a part in better sales of family sedans and wagons, but equally significant was new model activity in both segments," said Peter Sturrock.
Mr Sturrock said January motor vehicle sales were consistent with bullish consumer sentiment evident in record Christmas and post-Christmas retail sales.
While a 10 per cent sales increase spread across the year would see motor vehicle sales top the million mark for the first time, the FCAI is forecasting sales of 970,000 in 2007.
A total of 962,666 vehicles were sold in Australia in 2006 - a 2.5 per cent fall on the all-time record of 988,269 set in 2005.
Toyota was the bestselling brand in January with 16,238 sales, ahead of Holden (11,258), Ford (7501).
In fourth place was a surging Mazda with 6627 sales, up 23.1 per cent on January 2005.
Also enjoying big sales increases were sixth-placed Nissan, which rose 25.1 per cent and seventh-placed Mitsubishi with an increase of 26.8 per cent.
For further information contact:
Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries