Petrol prices are up, interest rates are up and sales of bigger cars are also up – there’s nothing like going against the trend.
The long-running boom in small and car sales is showing the first signs of slowing according official motor industry figures released today.
The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industrie’s VFACTS report shows that sales in the Small passenger car segment fell by 1.8 per cent last month compared to a year-to-date increase of 2.4 per cent.
The Light car segment grew by 1.8 per cent in September; much lower than the rise of 20.1 per cent for the year to date.
At the same time, Large passenger cars showed some signs of a sales improvement. The segment was down 7.1 per cent compared to the same month last year but this was nevertheless a significant improvement on the year-to-date fall 21.3 percent.
Sales of Holden Commodore were up 8.5 per cent on September 2005 following the first full month on sale of the new generation model. Honda Accord sales were also up – by 7.6 percent following the release of an updated model.
“The release of new models is beginning to improve the fortunes of the Large car segment and we expect that trend to strengthen when Toyota launches its new Aurion family sedan later this month,” said FCAI Chief Executive Peter Sturrock.
“It’s also notable that Medium car segment sales rose a significant 11.5 per cent last month, driven by sales of a number of new models including Subaru Liberty, Volkswagen Jetta and Toyota Camry.”
“While fuel prices clearly remain a market driver, Australians have not fallen out of love with larger cars and the launch of several new models is giving them a reason to look again at large and medium segments.”
“Consumer concern may also have been eased somewhat by the recent falls in crude oil prices which are now being reflected at the pump.”
So far this year the Australian market is down 29,660 vehicles or 3.6 per cent on 2005 when a record total of 988,269 motor vehicles were sold.
Mr Sturrock said the FCAI has revised its sales forecast for the year downwards from 980,000 to 970,000.
“While we expect fourth quarter sales to be strong, it’s clear that four years of record sales have, for the moment, come to an end,” said Mr Sturrock.
“It’s important to remember, however, that only five years ago motor vehicle sales were averaging about 780,000 per annum, so you could say that the Australian market has permanently shifted into a higher gear.”