VFACTS new vehicle sales data released by Australia's Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) showed an emerging buyer preference for diesel sports utility vehicles in the continuing strong market for SUVs. 

Overall, 79,097 vehicles were sold in April, up 6.6% (4,833 units) year on year. Year to date colume rose 5.1%. 

“Yet again, SUVs dominate the Australian vehicle market, with sales increasing for all sizes of SUVs in the private, business and rental sectors,” FCAI chief executive Ian Chalmers said. “This month, however, we can also see an interesting emergence of customer preference for diesel powered SUVs.” 

Overall, SUV sales increased by 24.4% compared with the same period last year. 

Sales of large passenger vehicles were down but medium passenger car sales remained strong, up 14.6% (3,428). Sales of sports cars surged 36.1% (1,680). 

Sales of locally manufactured vehicles - some Holden, Toyota and Ford models - were up 17.1%. 

The Mazda 3, top selling model last month, was beaten in April by the Toyota HiLux pickup line with 3,565 sales. 

Toyota was the best performing brand, selling 16,568 vehicles, followed by Mazda (7,681) and General Motors' Holden with 7,589.