Tony O'Kane | May 5, 2009

The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) has released the latest VFACTS figures for the month of April, showing that new car sales slumped by a sizable 23.9 percent over the same period last year.

FCAI Andrew McKellarTotal sales for April topped 63,965 vehicles, 20,096 fewer than April 2008.

It's important to remember, however, that last year's sales figures were achieved in a booming first half year of new car purchases. The Easter holidays has also had an impact on buyer traffic in local showrooms in April.

Toyota was the leader for April with 13,033 cars sold, while Holden and Ford trailed some distance behind with 7829 and 6836 sales respectively.

The Holden Commodore continues to hold position numero uno in the showroom stakes, with the FG Falcon lodging an almost 20 percent improvement in sales.

While the top end of the manufacturer leaderboard remains largely unchanged, Korean manufacturer Hyundai has made the most progress in ascending the sales ladder, logging a 12.3 percent increase in sales for April.

According to Hyundai spokesman Ben Hershman, the combination of value-rich new products (i30, iLoad and iMax, to name a few) and the global financial squeeze has helped entice more buyers into Hyundai showrooms.

"In times of financial dificulty, people still need to buy cars, and for them value becomes important," Mr Hershman said.

Hershman also said that new car buyers were migrating to Hyundais showrooms in greater numbers, coming across to the brand from other marques.

Nearly all other mainstream brands weren't so lucky. Mitsubishi sales dropped by 37 percent, Honda fell by 30 percent, Mazda and Nissan both lost 24 percent of their sales while Holden and Ford figures were down by 23 and 17 percent respectively.

However, there may be light at the end of the tunnel. FCAI Chief Executive Andrew McKellar says tax breaks for new car buyers should help increase purchases of new vehicles.

"There are signs of increased buyer interest in and awareness of the incentive programme which certainly underpins the need for speedy passage of the legislation," Mr McKellar said.

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