A record-breaking year for Australia's motor industry remains a likely prospect after the industry recorded its second-best July sales of 91,331, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries said.

The July tally took the 2016 year-to-date total to 689,471, up 2.8% year on year over the 2015 seven-month record.

Highlighting increasing multi-national sourcing for Australia's vehicles, Thailand last month became the leading country of origin for national sales for the first time.

Sales of Thai vehicle imports during July totalled 23,803, ahead of Japan (23,359) for the first time. Thailand is the leading source country for Australia's strong-selling light commercial utility and cab-chassis vehicles as well as for some popular passenger vehicles.

The composition of Australia's vehicle market is also undergoing change with passenger car sales slowly declining in the face of a growing market demand for SUVs and light commercials.  In July, passenger cars accounted for 41.6% of the market, compared with 44.9% for the same month last year. SUVs in July accounted for a 37% share with light commercials, also on the rise, taking 18.5%.

Small passenger cars were the most dominant segment with 16,787 sales during July while medium and large SUVs were the next largest segments, with 12,716 and 11,264 sales respectively.

SUV sales rose by 3.5% in July compared with the same month last year, and this segment's year-to-date sales for 2016 were up 10.3%.

Toyota continued to lead the market in July, posting 17,465 sales for a 19.1% share, followed by Mazda with 8,460 sales (9.3%), Hyundai (7,603; 8.3%), Holden (7,071; 7.7%) and Ford (6,894; 7.5%).

FCAI chief executive Tony Weber said that, despite the potential for a post-financial year market ease, particularly in the wake of a lengthy federal election, buyer confidence remained strong in the second-best July on record.

"The ongoing strength of SUV sales, especially among business buyers, is bringing a healthy momentum to the market," Weber said.

In the first month of the new financial year, business purchases of new vehicles in July were up by 11.7% over July 2015. This was, in the main, reflected by increased purchases of SUVs and light commercials.

The Toyota Corolla was the top-selling vehicle in Australia in July (3,427 sales), followed by the Hilux (3,136), Ford Ranger (2,874), Hyundai i30 (2,216) and the Toyota Camry (2,172).

Key Points:

  • The July 2016 market of 91,331 new vehicle sales is a decrease of 977 vehicle sales or 1.1% on July 2015 (92,308) vehicle sales. July 2016 (26.0) had one less selling day than July 2015, which resulted in an increase of 93.9 vehicle sales per day.
  • The July 2016 industry volume is down by 37,238 or 29.0% on June 2016 (128,569) vehicles.
  • The Passenger Vehicle Market is down 3,387 vehicle sales (8.2%) over the same month last year; the Sports Utility Market is up by 1,138 vehicle sales (3.5%); the Light Commercial Market is up by 1,320 vehicle sales (8.5%); and the Heavy Commercial Vehicle Market is down by 48 vehicle sales (-1.8%) versus July 2015.
  • Toyota was market leader in July, followed by Mazda and Hyundai. Toyota led Mazda with a margin of 9,005 vehicle sales, or 9.8 market share points.