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Record Motor Vehicle sales in February

The Australian automotive industry has shaken off the effects of last year's petrol price volatility and interest rate rises to post an all-time record sales total for the month of February.

Official VFACTS retail figures released today by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries show that 83,740 motor vehicles were sold last month - an increase of 6,294 or 8.1 per cent on February last year, and higher than the previous record for the month of 81,141 set in 2005.

The February result backs up record sales in January, meaning that for the year-to-date the market is running ahead of 2006 by 9.0 per cent or 13,227 vehicles.

"The car industry has really jumped out the blocks this year thanks to the combined effects of new model activity and intense retail competition," said the Chief Executive of the FCAI, Peter Sturrock.

"It's clearly a buyer's market at the moment and consumers seem to have put aside any concerns about interest rates they might have had and responded to the great deals on offer," he said.

Mr Sturrock said the sales boom was broadly based in February with strong growth in large vehicle sales as well as small.

"This suggests that petrol prices may be of slightly less concern to car buyers than they were a few months ago," he said.

The Sports Utility Market (SUV) was up 10.4 per cent on the same month last year with the volume growth in that market evenly split between SUV Medium and SUV Small segment models.

For the second month in a row, sales in the Large car segment stabilised versus the same period of last year.

Holden Commodore was easily Australia's best selling model in February with 5544 sales, while Toyota Aurion's sales of 1817 were its best since launch last October.

"It is encouraging to local car markers to see buyers respond in large numbers to new Commodore and Aurion," said Peter Sturrock.

Toyota topped the charts in February with 18,602 sales, ahead of Holden with 13,083, and Ford (9,110).

Holding the next four places were Mazda, Nissan, Honda and Mitsubishi - all of whom achieved sales and market share gains over the same month last year.

For further information contact:
Peter Sturrock
Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries