Sales of new motor vehicles in Australia grew "strongly" in September, according to the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI).

The official VFACTS data showed 86,819 new vehicles were sold in September, an increase of 2.1% (1,765 vehicles) year on year.

FCAI chief executive Ian Chalmers said two consecutive months of strong growth signalled a recovery in sales from Japanese manufacturers now that supply from the earthquake and tsunami affected area was beginning to stabilise.

FCAI is sticking to its forecast that 2011 will be Australia’s fourth 1m sales year.

Chalmers said the 1m forecast was more challenging to achieve compared with the three previous 1m sales years.

“Reduced sales in the second quarter of 2011 have set a challenging target for the final three months of the year, but industry resolve is high,” he said.

“Sales stimulus by means of competition in the marketplace saw the third quarter end strongly, and we are now looking toward continued growth through to the end of the year.”

Sales of locally manufactured vehicles grew significantly in September, increasing more than 21% over the same month in 2010.

Sales of light commercial vehicles and heavy vehicles also grew strongly in September – up 11.2% and 5.8% respectively on 2010 figures – which FCAI suggests may be associated with improving business confidence and increased activity in the resources sector.

Toyota’s Corolla was the single best selling model in September with 3,766 sales, followed by General Motors Holden’s Commodore (3,712), Toyota HiLux (3,191) and Holden Cruze (3117).

So far this year 752,128 new vehicles have been sold, 3.7% fewer than for the same period in 2010.

Toyota was the best selling marque in September with 17,378 sales, followed by Holden (11,009), and Ford (8,161).