Donâ€™t let the highest oil prices in history fool you into thinking that Australians are ending their love affair with big cars, because their not. A boom in the sales of SUVs (Sports Utility Vehicles) and a rebound in passenger car sales combined to deliver a record sales result for the local automotive industry in October.
Official figures released today by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries show that a total of 89,289 motor vehicles were sold in October - an increase of 9,359 or 11.7 percent on the same month last year. The previous highest October sales figure was back in 2004 when a little over 80,000 sales were recorded.
FCAI chief executive Andrew McKellar said the notable trend last month was the sharp rise in SUV sales, which jumped 3,827 or 27.5 per cent. Year-to-date SUV sales are now up by almost 22,000 vehicles.
"After a decline in 2006, the SUV market has rebounded strongly as brands have launched new generation models - in many cases featuring enhanced economy and versatility. The October result was in line with the long-term trend towards growing sales of small and light cars," said Mr McKellar.
Year to date an additional 10,028 Small cars (up 5.4 per cent) and 8,946 Light cars (up 9.2 percent) have been sold - while the Large family car segment held steady in October (down just 0.8 per cent) and year-to-date is now up 5414 or 4.8 per cent.
The increasing robustness of the Australian dollar has seen the sales of (now cheaper) imported cars increase with the net result being that the combined market share of Australian-manufactured vehicles dipped to just over 17 percent in October.
Toyota was the best-selling brand in October, its total of 20,212 beating the combined sales of second placed Holden (11,415) and Ford (8,206).
Year to date Toyota now leads Holden by 71,360 sales. It is expected that sales for the twelve months of 2007 will top one million units for the first time in Australiaâ€™s automotive history.