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Strong Finish for New Vehicle sales in 2008

For the second year in a row and only the second time ever, Australians bought more than one-million new vehicles during a calendar year.

Official VFACTS data released today by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) show that 1,012,164 passenger cars, SUVs and commercial vehicles were sold in 2008 – down 3.6 per cent or 37,818 vehicles compared to 2007.

“This is a good result and shows that the car industry finished the year on a strong note,” FCAI Chief Executive Andrew McKellar said.

“The 2008 outcome is the second highest sales figure on record,” he said.

The December sales figure of 76,510 (down 11.3 per cent) pushed the result over the one-million sales milestone.

“Sales in December held up well with buyers taking advantage of the many competitive opportunities available in the marketplace,” Mr McKellar said.

The FCAI forecasts that 880,000 new vehicles will be sold during 2009.

“We must be realistic about the outlook for the year ahead and acknowledge the impact that the global financial crisis is having on the broader economy,” he said.

“Nonetheless there are positives that will underpin demand in 2009, including lower fuel prices, reduced interest rates and the impact of additional fiscal measures implemented by the Federal Government,” Mr McKellar said.

Light commercial vehicles were a major contributor to the overall market result with the segment increasing 4.2 per cent during 2008.

The passenger car segment ended the year down 6.3 per cent compared to 2007; SUV sales were down 1.9 per cent and heavy commercials were down 3.5 per cent.

Toyota was Australia’s best-selling brand in 2008 with 238,983 vehicles (23.6 per cent market share) followed by Holden with 130,338 (12.9 per cent of the market) and Ford with 104,715 vehicle sales (10.3 per cent market share).

The Holden Commodore was the top-selling vehicle model in 2008, the thirteenth year in a row that the model has held that position.

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