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Records Tumble as Car Market Reaches New Heights

The Australian motor vehicle market has set new half year and fiscal year records, despite rising interest rates and fuel prices.

Official VFACTS figures released today by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) show that 542,695 new cars, trucks and buses were sold in the first six months of 2008 – up 18,319 or 3.5 per cent on the same period in 2007.

The sales total for the 2007-08 fiscal year was 1,068,301, which was an increase of almost 65,000 vehicles over the previous financial year.

"The continued growth of the motor vehicle market so far this year is an encouraging result given current economic circumstances," said the Chief Executive of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, Andrew McKellar.

"Business sales in particular have remained resilient in the face of interest rate rises, fuel price increases and general turbulence in world financial markets."

Sales for the month of June were also a record at 106,541 - an increase of 1,444 or 1.4 per cent over the same month last year, and an all-time record for any month in Australian motor vehicle sales history.

Andrew McKellar said the FCAI forecasts the market will again exceed one million motor vehicle sales in the calendar year, having first passed that milestone last December with a total of 1,049,982.

"While there are reasons to be cautious about the general market outlook in the second half of the year, the industry remains confident that total 2008 sales will once again top one million units," he said.

The single largest contributor to sales growth so far this year has been the Medium SUV segment, which has added 6,662 sales or 18.5 per cent.

Small car segment sales have grown by 5,410 sales or 4.6 per cent, while two-wheel drive Pick-up/Cab-chassis sales have grown by 4,158 sales or 12.0 per cent.

Toyota remained market leader in June, selling 25,624 vehicles, which was an all-time record for any brand in any month.

Toyota was also the top-selling marque in the first half of the year with 127,440 sales or 23.5 per cent of the market, followed by Holden with 67,123 (12.4 per cent) and Ford with 54,469 (10.0 per cent).

The most popular car year-to-date is Toyota's Corolla with 24,415 sales, ahead of Holden Commodore with 23,323 and Toyota HiLux with 22,132.

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Sheena Ireland, Communications Manager
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