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Family Cars Boost Motor Vehicle sales

Family car buyers have helped the Australian motor vehicle market continue its record run, according to figures released today by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI).

VFACTS figures for July show that a record 86,291 cars, trucks and buses were sold last month - up 8729 vehicles or 11.3 per cent on the same month last year.

While most segments of the market enjoyed growth, the strongest additional sales volume occurred in the family-oriented segments of Large cars, Medium cars and Compact SUVs.

FCAI Chief Executive Andrew McKellar said sales growth in 2007 was more widely spread amongst the segments.

"In 2006 the dynamics of the automotive market were dominated by small and light car sales but this year the sales action has been more broadly based - and the July results reinforce that trend," said Mr McKellar.

Large car sales rose by 1945 vehicles or 18.6 per cent, Medium car sales increased by 1323 or 21.7 per cent and SUV Compact sales were up 1468 or 23.7 per cent.

In comparison the largest single segment of the motor vehicle market - Small cars - rose by 396 vehicles of 3.9 per cent in July.

So far this year the market total of 610,667 vehicles is running ahead of the same period in 2006 by 8.9 per cent. The FCAI is forecasting record total sales for the calendar year of more than one million vehicles.

Andrew McKellar says that while the continued buoyancy in vehicle sales is pleasing, he sounds a slight note of caution about emerging economic challenges in the months ahead.

"While the overall strength of the market in July is a tremendous result and we are on track for record annual sales, we shouldn't take the strength of the motor vehicle market for granted," said Mr McKellar.

"In particular, there is nothing in these sales figures that in any way supports the case for an interest rate increase in the coming months.

"There is no evidence of excess demand in the motor vehicle market. Supply has responded strongly to meet consumer demand, competition is intense and vehicle affordability is at record levels."

Toyota was the best-selling brand in July with 19,047, ahead of Holden (12,343) and Ford (9006).

Year-to-date Toyota leads with 22.2 per cent share of the market ahead of Holden (14.5 per cent) and Ford (10.4 per cent).

Mazda (7.5 per cent), Mitsubishi (6.4), Nissan (6.0) and Honda (6.0) have all gained market share over the same period of last year.

For further information and comment:
Andrew McKellar
FCAI Chief Executive