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News - VFACTS - Sales 2006 - July

July VFACTS: Business as usual

On the up: Small cars like Mazda3 enjoyed a 3.7-per cent sales rise in July.

High fuel prices, an interest rate hike and Camry, Commodore run-outs fail to dampen July sales

7 Aug 2006

SOARING fuel prices and another interest rate rise have failed to have any significantly impact on vehicle sales last month.

Overall Australian new-car sales were down just 1.4 per cent for the month - despite record fuel prices, concerns over interest rates and the one-off effects of the major changeover of two locally manufactured models.

Official figures released by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) show that 77,562 vehicles were sold last month – down just 1079 vehicles on the all-time record for the month set last year.

Overall, vehicle sales have slowed 3.1 per cent so far this year from record 2005 levels.

The light and small car segments continue to drive the market.

Light car sales are up 21.4 per cent this year, followed by small cars (3.7 per cent) and the people-mover segment (3.0 per cent).

The large car segment remains depressed - down 22,262 vehicles this year, representing a 22.1 per cent slump.

Like large segment, SUVs are also feeling the effects of fuel prices.

Overall SUV sales are down 7510 vehicles, 6.9 per cent, in year-to-date terms.

However, the luxury SUV segment, largely immune from petrol price rises and interest rate moves, is up 1191 sales, or 13.2 per cent.

Other SUV segments failed to improve on the same period in 2005, with the SUV medium segment down, 5067 (-12.3 per cent) the SUV large segment down, 2879 (-23.8 per cent) and the SUV compact segment down, 755 (-1.6 per cent).

The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries chief executive, Peter Sturrock, said last month’s result was "very strong and a great encouragement for the automotive industry", despite fuel issues, interest rates and the combined one-off effects of the change-over to the new VE Commodore and Toyota Camry.

Mr Sturrock credited the changeover of the Commodore and Camry for being largely responsible for the downturn in registration figures.

Toyota delivered just 656 four-cylinder Camrys in July compared to 2021 in the same month last year.

Holden delivered 4022 Commodores compared to 5445 in 2005, while Ford managed 3951 Falcons and Mitsubishi 826 380s.

Mr Sturrock said the strong end-of-financial-year June market, in which 96,448 vehicles were delivered, did not appear to have adversely affected the July result.

"Traditionally end-of-financial-year demand creates a pull forward which adversely affects July," he said. "However, this year the effects have been minimal."

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