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The latest Australian new vehicle sales data shows private buyers have begun returning to showrooms in greater numbers adding to the demand from businesses who continue to take advantage of stimulus measures.

Official VFACTS data from the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) showed that 73,287 passenger cars, SUVs and commercial vehicles were sold in August 2009, down 5.2% year on year, though there were increases in some market segments.

“These figures indicate that private buyers are regaining confidence and re-entering the market,” FCAI chief executive Andrew McKellar.

“The better than expected sales to private buyers and rental companies have really buoyed the market heading into spring,” he said.

“Strong demand continues from business buyers who are taking advantage of the tax break available and the effectiveness of the stimulus measure is being reflected in the supply constraints experienced on some models,” McKellar added.

Year-to-date 603,843 new vehicles have been sold, down 14.2% year on year.

Toyota was top in August with 15,994 sales ahead of GM Holden (9,505) and Ford (7,623).