Steane Klose | Nov 6, 2008

As expected, the FCAI has announced a drop in new vehicles sales during October, which they say “reflects the broader slowdown in the Australian and world economies as well as reduced access to wholesale and consumer finance”.

The official VFACTS data released today by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) shows that 79,105 cars, trucks and buses were sold in October - down a sizeable 11.4 percent (10,184 vehicles) compared to the same month last year.

"These figures confirm that the global financial crisis is having an impact on broader economic activity, including the new vehicle market," FCAI Chief Executive Andrew McKellar said.

This less than stellar result has seen new car sales for the year-to-date drop 0.9 percent below those of last year for the same period, with a total of 864,037 vehicles being sold.

It is likely that the October result is just the start of the bad news. Hitting the million sales in a year (reached for the first time in 2007 in Australia) is still a possibility, but don't expect the same level of sales in 2009.

Last month we brought you the news regarding GE Money and GMAC finance pulling up stumps on their Australian operations, leaving hundreds of car dealerships with potentially no way to finance their floor stock. The effects of this devastating news on the industry are yet to be seen.

"While it is clear that current economic uncertainties have affected consumer demand, the industry is also monitoring the impact of liquidity constraints on the availability of wholesale finance to dealers."

"The industry is working systematically to find alternative solutions to this issue in an effort to avoid the risk of further disruption to the market," Mr McKellar said.

On a lighter note (pardon the pun), light commercial vehicle sales were positive in October, with the segment recording a 7.9 per cent increase compared to the same month last year.

All other segments recorded decreases during October: passenger vehicles down 13.8 per cent, SUVs down 19.1 per cent and heavy commercial vehicles down 15.9 per cent.

Toyota retained the top sales position in October with a market share of 23.6 per cent, followed by Holden with 12.9 per cent and Ford with 10.8 per cent.

Year-to-date Toyota sold 202,511 vehicles, followed by Holden with 109,771 vehicles and Ford with 89,983 vehicles.

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