As in neighbouring New Zealand, light commercial vehicles took the top places in the sales charts in May.

Australians bought 93,327 new cars in May 2015 - 1.3% fewer year on year. Year to date sales rose 2.5% to 452,577, suggesting a long predicted flattening out and likely slowdown has begun. 

FCAI chief executive Tony Weber said light commercial vehicles were popular in May with the Toyota Hilux, Mitsubishi Triton and Ford Ranger all appearing in the top five. 

The Hilux, soon to be replaced by a full redesign, was the top selling vehicle, with 3,173 sales (it has been knocked off its perch by Ford's newer Ranger in NZ, recently). The perennial Toyota was followed by Mazda 3 (2,876), sibling Corolla (2,688), Mitsubishi Triton (2,683) and the Ranger (2,411). 

"In total, light commercial vehicle sales increased 1% and remain up 3.6% year-to-date," Weber said. 

Light commercial vehicles were popular with government and business buyers last month with sales up 5.9 and 2.7%, respectively. Light commercial sales to private buyers declined 2.6% year on year but were up 11.2% year to date. 

SUV sales were up 5.8%, led by sales of small models which were up by more than 20%, compared to May 2014. The vehicle type proved popular with private buyers, in particular. Private buyers purchased 10.1% more SUVs in May 2015, than in May 2014. Business and government purchases of SUVs remained steady. SUV sales were up 13.5% year to date. 

Passenger car sales declined 7.3% with the segment accounting for below 44% of the market in May. Year to date, sales were down 5%. 

Toyota was the top selling brand in May 2015, taking 17.1% of the new car market. Mazda (9.3%), Hyundai (8.9%), Holden (8.5%) and Mitsubishi (6.6%) followed.