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Strong Suv sales Boost October Car Market

FCAI Chief Executive, Andrew McKellar: "The Suv market has rebounded stronlgy as brands have launched new general models."

A boom in the sales of SUVs (Sports Utility Vehicles) and a rebound in passenger car sales combined to deliver a record sales result for the automotive industry last month.

Official figures released today by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries show that a total of 89,289 motor vehicles were sold in October - an increase of 9,359 or 11.7 percent on the same month last year.

The result beats the previous record for the month of October, set in 2004, by more than 8,000 sales.

Year-to-date the motor vehicle market is now up almost 70,000 vehicles or 8.6 per cent as it continues its charge towards a forecast million-plus sales by year's end.

FCAI Chief Executive Andrew McKellar said the notable trend last month was the sharp rise in SUV sales, which jumped 3,827 or 27.5 per cent. Year-to-date SUV sales are now up by almost 22,000 vehicles.

"After a decline in 2006, the SUV market has rebounded strongly as brands have launched new generation models - in many cases featuring enhanced economy and versatility," said Mr McKellar.

Mr McKellar said a slight dip in passenger car sales in September corrected itself last month.

The Small car segment was up 1472 or 8.3 per cent, while Light car sales grew 1150 or 11.5 per cent.

"The October result was in line with the long-term trend towards growing sales of small and light cars," said Mr McKellar.

Year to date an additional 10,028 Small cars (up 5.4 per cent) and 8,946 Light cars (up 9.2 percent) have been sold.

The Large family car segment held steady in October (down just 0.8 per cent) and year-to-date is now up 5414 or 4.8 per cent.

Despite the strength in overall sales, Mr McKellar said the figures highlight the difficult competitive situation facing local car manufacturers.

"The combined market share of Australian-manufactured vehicles dipped to just over 17 per cent last month," said Mr McKellar.
"The intensely competitive situation in the motor vehicle market is being driven to a significant degree by the ongoing strength of the Australian dollar.

"Given the current levels of vehicle affordability and price competition in the market, there is nothing in these figures that adds to the case for a further interest rate rise," he said.

Toyota was the best-selling brand in October, its total of 20,212 beating the combined sales of second placed Holden (11,415) and Ford (8,206).

Year to date Toyota now leads Holden by 71,360 sales.

For further information and comment:
Andrew McKellar
FCAI Chief Executive