The Australian motor vehicle market seems almost certain to set its fourth annual straight sales record, following booming sales in August.
According to figures released today by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), 86,179 cars, trucks and buses were sold last month - an increase of 6935 or 8.8 per cent over the previous record for August, set last year.
Sales records have now been set in seven out of eight months this year.
Year to date the market is now running 33,650 or 5.3 per cent per cent ahead of the same period last year.
"Despite predictions that housing and fuel prices would dampen the market, we see no reason to doubt that the industry's annual sales total will be significantly above last year's record of 955,000," says FCAI chief executive Peter Sturrock.
The FCAI is forecasting a 2005 total of 980,000.
Mr Sturrock said there is nothing in the figures to suggest that the current spike in fuel prices is dampening demand.
"Fuel prices are not discouraging people from buying motor vehicles, although they do seem to be influencing the type of vehicles being bought," he said.
Of the more than 5000 extra passenger cars sold in August, 4600 were in the Small segment.
Small segment sales were up 33.1 per cent in August, Light cars were up 7.9 per cent, Prestige cars were up 17.3 per cent and Luxury cars were up 6.5 per cent.
Sales of Sports Utility Vehicles continued to grow last month, increasing by 1.8 per cent and year to date are now 6.9 per cent ahead of last year's record levels.
"Fuel prices may be influencing the sales mix between the SUV segments but overall four-wheel-drive demand is likely to remain extremely strong, reinforced by the launch of some attractive new models," said Mr Sturrock.
The Light Truck market had a strong month â€“ up 11.4 per cent - and is now 2.5 per cent ahead for the year to date.
Mr Sturrock said the strength of light truck sales was "another indication of the resilience of the motor vehicle market and positive business sentiment."
The top-selling motor vehicle brand in August was Toyota with 17,920 or 20.8 per cent share of the market, ahead of Holden with 15,307 (17.8 per cent) and Ford (12,157 and 14.1 per cent).
Local manufacturer Mitsubishi was sixth (4526) behind Mazda (5464) and Nissan (4801).
On a year-to-date basis, Toyota continues to lead the market with 132,311 sales, 12,726 units ahead of Holden.
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