Australians have for the first time bought more than one million motor vehicles in a single calendar year.
VFACTS sales figures released today by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries show that 1,049,982 cars, trucks and buses were sold in 2007; an increase of 87,316 or 9.1 percent over 2006.
The previous record total of 988,269 was set in 2005.
“One million new motor vehicles sales in a country of 21 million people is an impressive achievement by the Australian automotive industry and ranks as one of the highest rates of new car purchase in the developed world,” said FCAI Chief Executive Andrew McKellar.
Mr McKellar said the market growth in 2007 was the continuation of a trend that has seen car sales expand by 277,000 vehicles or 35 per cent since 2001.
“The Australian motor vehicle market has now grown in six out of the last seven years, driven by the strength of the labour market, rising asset values and improving vehicle affordability,” said Mr McKellar.
The 2007 result was further boosted by record December sales of 86,250; up 9,187 or 11.9 per cent on December 2006.
FCAI believes that the Australian motor vehicle market will remain strong in coming months and is forecasting a total of 1,000,000 sales in 2008.
“Last year the motor vehicle market grew at approximately twice the rate of the economy as a whole,” said Andrew McKellar.
“Although economic fundamentals remain strong and consumer confidence is proving to be robust, we think future growth will be more closely aligned with trends in overall domestic demand.”
For the 12th year in a row Holden Commodore was Australia’s best-selling motor vehicle in 2007 with 57,307 sales.
Toyota Corolla maintained its second place with 47,792 and in a reflection of the importance of the light commercial vehicle market, Toyota’s HiLux was third with 42,009 sales.
Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) and Light Commercial vehicles were major contributors to overall market growth.
Of the more than 87,000 additional sales last year, 27,329 were SUVs and 15,052 were 4×4 Pick-ups.
The SUV market grew by 16.0 per cent; a significant rebound in fortunes after contracting in 2006 while the 4×4 Pick-up segment grew by 22.3 percent.
Other major contributors to market growth were Small cars, which were up 13,030 sales or 5.9 per cent and Light cars; up 11,805 or 10.2 per cent.
Small cars remained easily the largest volume segment of the market with 232,388 sales, ahead of Large cars which, with 139,677 sales, grew by 3154 or 2.3 per cent.
“The 2007 figures show it would be far too simplistic to conclude, as some have, that there is a general move by Australian consumers to smaller cars,” said Andrew McKellar.
“While sales of smaller cars have been growing strongly, in 2007 sales of SUVs and 4×4 Pick-ups grew even faster.”
For the fifth year in a row, Toyota was the best-selling in brand in 2007 with a 22.5 per cent share of the total market.
Holden came second with 14.0 per cent and Ford was third with 10.3 per cent.