The continuing impact of the global financial crisis forced a downturn in new vehicle sales during January but the auto industry hopes new fiscal measures will help stabilise the market.

Official VFACTS data from the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) showed that 67,079 passenger cars, SUVs and commercial vehicles were sold in January - down 18.5% (15,191 vehicles) year on year.

"This is a not unexpected result given the broadening impact of the global financial crisis now being felt across the Australian economy," FCAI chief executive Andrew McKellar said.

"Australian new vehicle sales have actually held up well by comparison with sales in many other countries," he said.

The automotive industry is hopeful that additional stimulus from recent interest rate cuts and new fiscal policy measures announced by the federal government will help to underpin the market in coming months.

"This is an extremely competitive market with plenty of opportunities and with interest rates now even lower people should not be deterred from considering buying a new vehicle," McKellar said.

In particular, businesses are also encouraged to take advantage of the federal government's strengthened investment allowance which is expected to apply to new vehicle purchases.

"It's understood that many businesses will be able claim a deduction for up to 30% of the cost of a new vehicle," McKellar said.

"That is an enormous saving and something that businesses should look at very closely," he said.

Toyota was Australia's best-selling brand in January with 13,427 vehicles (20% market share) followed by Holden with 8,762 (13.1% of the market) and Mazda with 6,532 vehicle sales (9.7% market share).