Australia’s new vehicle sales remain on target for a record year despite a slight dip during October when total sales reached 93,357, 1% (964 vehicles) down on the same month in 2015.
Passenger cars were the only segment to fall below October 2015 outcomes (down by 7.4%), with SUVs showing a 4.9 per cent gain and the vigorous light commercial growth slowing to a 0.4% monthly gain.
The overall year-to-date total of 980,433 sales puts the market 2.4% (or 23,280 sales) ahead of the same time last year, keeping the industry well on track to surpassing last year’s record total of 1,155,408.
Strong sales in NSW and Victoria drove the market during October, with NSW up 2.1 per cent (+5.1% YTD) and Victoria increasing by 3.9% (+3.9% YTD). Queensland dipped by 7.5% compared with October last year, South Australia dropped by 6.4%, and WA fell 11.2%. Falls were also recorded in the ACT (-6.7%), and in the Tasmanian market (-12.7%) in October.
The Chief Executive of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, Tony Weber, said that the differential between the states revealed how economic conditions and confidence play an important role in buyer behaviour.
The sales difference between passenger cars and SUVs nationally closed to its smallest margin yet during October. Just 1375 sales separated the two segments last month. This reflects the continued strong growth in both SUVs and light commercial vehicles, which together accounted for 56.2 per cent of total vehicle sales nationally during October.
“The gap between the two is narrowing by the month and should this trend continue, it is likely that SUVs will become the larger segment sometime in the foreseeable future,” Mr Weber said.
The October result was also notable for two light commercial vehicles leading the national market for the first time.
The Toyota Hilux was the nation’s best-selling vehicle in October with 3352 sales, just 135 ahead of the Ford Ranger. Just seven sales behind the Ranger was the Toyota Corolla (3210 sales), followed by the Hyundai i30 (2718) and the Mazda3 (2191).
Sales of motor vehicles to private buyers declined nationally 3.5% in October, but business purchases rose by 2.6% and sales to government by 5.1%. Rental fleet sales declined by 12.9%. The significant gain in buyer type by volume was in SUV sales to business during October, which lifted 9.6%.
Toyota remained the market leader in October with a 17.5% share, followed by Hyundai with 9.3%, Mazda (8.5), Holden (8.1) and Ford (7.0).