Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 08/09/2012 -- Australian new vehicle sales have got off to a strong start in 2012, with sales up by 8.8% year-on-year (yo- y) over the first five months of the year, according to data released by Australia's Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI).
This strong performance reflects a strong base effect from the early part of 2011, when regional supplies of autos and auto parts were impacted by the devastating Japanese earthquake and tsunami of March 2011. Indeed, taking May figures on their own, sales were up by 24.1% y-o-y, at 96,069 units. Year-todate, 435,288 new vehicles have been sold in Australia.
On current trends, Australian new car sales look well on track to hit BMI's forecast of 1,044,814 units for the full year. Consequently, we see no need to make any changes to our forecast this quarter. Moving forward, we believe that new car sales will gain support from the June 5 2012 decision by the Reserve Bank of Australia to cut interest rates by 0.25%, to 3.5%. This marked the second consecutive month of interest-rate cuts, following a 0.5% cut in May, and should translate into cheaper financing for new car purchases across the country. One major unknown is the impact of the country's new carbon tax, which will be introduced in July 2012. BMI will monitor the impact of the carbon tax on monthly new vehicle sales figures over the next quarter to see if any changes to our current forecasts become necessary.
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Looking at the breakdown of the May monthly sales figures, passenger cars (48,448 units) accounted for 50.4% of the overall market, down 4.5 percentage points (pp) on their market share for May 2011. Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) sales (26,863 units) accounted for 28% of the overall market, up 5.8pp on their market share for May 2011. This would indicate that Australian appetite for larger cars remains strong, despite the slump in sales seen by long-time stalwart, the Holden Commodore sedan, over recent months. As of end-May, Toyota Motor remains the best-selling brand in Australia, selling 20,443 vehicles over the month, for a market share of 21.3%. Some way behind in second place is GM Holden (9,017 vehicles, 9.4% share) and then Mazda on 8,346 units, or 8.7%.
Mazda has now beaten Ford Motor into fourth place. Ford sold 7,738 units in May, for an 8% share, with Nissan Motor rounding out the top five, selling 6,966 units for a 7.3% share.
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