Official VFACTS data released by Australia’s Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) showed continued strong growth in vehicle sales for 2012 with 97,616 passenger cars, SUVs and commercial vehicles sold in March.

This was a 3.9% increase (or 3,632 vehicles) compared to the same month in 2011. On a year to date basis, sales rose 4.7%. 

“SUVs continue to dominate Australian car sales, accounting for 28% of all new car sales so far this year,” FCAI chief executive Ian Chalmers said. “Combined with small passenger cars (23.6%) and light passenger cars (13.0%), these three segments make up 64.6% of new cars sold this year.” 

While all categories of SUV have grown in sales, two passenger car categories have also shown strong growth compared with 2011. Medium passengers car sales were up 17.7% (3,139) since the same time last year, while sales of sports cars have also sprung back with an increase of 31.2% (1,142) compared with the same period. 

“Yet again, the VFACTS data give us an overarching message – Australians will buy the cars that best meet their varied lifestyles, expectations and hip pockets,” Chalmers said. 

Sales of locally manufactured vehicles were up almost 20% year on year. 

Toyota was the best performing brand in March selling 18,461 vehicles, followed by General Motors’ Holden with 10,196 and Mazda , 9,345.