Steane Klose | Jun 4, 2008

Once again folks, it’s that special time of the month for which we all wait with bated breath – official VFACTS figures! Okay, I’ll back it down a notch…

Official VFACTS figures released today by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), show that 88,640 cars, trucks and buses were sold during May. That’s an increase of just 43 units on the same period last year.

The FCAI did note however that the rate of growth in new vehicle sales is slowing.

"This is a good result for the automotive industry, although there is evidence that interest rate rises and other factors have slowed the rate of growth in recent months," said FCAI chief executive Andrew McKellar.

Building on the trends seen in previous months, sales of passenger cars are slowing – down 2.5 percent - while sales of SUV’s and light commercial vehicles continue to ramp up strongly. Sales in the medium SUV segment were up 16.8 percent on May 2007 and the large SUV segment was up 12 percent, despite the higher cost of fuel in the current period.

The light commercial sector saw sales of the pick-up/cab-chassis 4x4 segment increase by 5.7 percent when compared to May 2007, with the van segment growing a healthy 22.5 percent.

Part of the growing interest in SUV’s and light commercial vehicles like the Toyota HiLux is the choice of engines on offer with diesels growing rapidly in popularity.

"Several new common-rail injection clean diesels have entered the market in the past few months, and we can see that Australian drivers are keen to give the new technology a try," said Mr McKellar.

Year-to-date the car market is now up 4 per cent on the same period in 2007, which was an all-time record year.

Toyota remained the top-selling marque in May with 23.4 percent of the market, followed by Holden with 12.5 percent and Ford with 10.9 percent.

So far this year Toyota leads the sales race with 101,816 vehicles sold, followed by Holden with 55,155 and Ford with 44,183.

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