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Car Market Soars to Third Straight Annual Record

The Australian motor vehicle industry soared to its third consecutive annual sales record last year.

Accordingto official figures released today by the Federal Chamber of AutomotiveIndustries, 955,229 cars, trucks and buses were sold in 2004.

The total smashed the sales record set in 2003 by 45,418 vehicles or five per cent.

The result means the market has grown by 182,548 vehicles or 23.6 per cent in just three years.

"Astrong economy, easy and inexpensive finance and the much improvedvalue for money most vehicles now represent have attractedsignificantly larger numbers of people to the new car market in recentyears," said the chief executive of the Federal Chamber of AutomotiveIndustries, Peter Sturrock.

The FCAI is forecasting vehicle sales will once again set a record in 2005, topping 980,000.

"A million vehicles a year is still a challenging goal but it could conceivably be achieved," said Mr Sturrock.

Toyota was the most popular brand for the second year in a row with 201,737 sales for 21.1 per cent of the market.

Holden was second with 178,027 deliveries followed by Ford with 135,172.

Followingthe big three came the first of the importers, Nissan with 63,654,which pushed ahead of local maker Mitsubishi with 56,967.

Mazdaconsolidated its sixth position with 55,560 sales, a 4.4 per cent salesrise, ahead of Hyundai whose sales rose 37.5 per cent to 42,510.

Eighth-placed Honda's sales rose 18.4 per cent while Subaru in ninth enjoyed a sales increase of 12.7 per cent.

Butthe biggest gain in the top 10 was enjoyed by Kia, whose sales rose by7,219 or 41.9 per cent to enter the top 10 for the first time.

Thethree most popular vehicle name plates in Australia last year wereHolden's Commodore with 79,170 sales followed by Ford's Falcon with65,384 and Toyota's Camry four/V6 with 40,356.

The Medium Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) segment wasthe strongest performing category in 2004, growing by 57.4 per centthanks to important new models from Ford, Holden and Toyota.

"The performance of the Australian-designed andbuilt Ford Territory is particularly laudable given that its 13,583sales were made in only eight months, suggesting it would easily havemade the list of the top ten selling models in a full year," said MrSturrock.

Other segments performing strongly were Prestigecars (up 27.1 per cent), People Movers (up 28.5 per cent), Luxury SUVs(up 15.3 percent) and four wheel drive Pickups (up 15.8) per cent.

"The strong sales of the Prestige and Luxury SUVsegments indicate that plenty of consumers still feel confident, whilethe strong sales of light trucks and other commercial vehicles speaksto the strength of the economy as a whole," said Mr Sturrock.

For further information contact:
Sheena Ireland, Communications Manager
P: 02 6229 8221
M: 0458 038 555