Australians have for the first time bought more than a million new motor vehicles in a financial year, according to retail sales figures released on Wednesday by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI).

The VFACTS figures show that a total of 1,004,097 were sold in the 2006-2007 financial year, surpassing the previous best of 981,791 sold in 2004-05.

The automotive industry’s much-anticipated milestone was achieved on the back of record monthly sales in June.

A total 105,097 vehicles were sold last month – up 8,649 or 9.0% on the same month last year. It was the highest sales for any month in the industry’s history.

“This is an outstanding result for the Australian motor industry,” said the FCAI’s chief executive, Andrew McKellar. “The success is broadly based and includes almost every brand and vehicle segment.

“Australians have now been buying new motor vehicles in record numbers for most of the last six years and that reflects the great value and choice which consumers now enjoy.”
For the six months to the end of June, motor vehicle sales totalled 524,376 – up 41,216 or 8.5% on the same period of 2006.

Most of the extra volume in June was generated by the light, small and medium passenger car segments which combined added 5,244 sales.

In addition, the large car segment was up 3.7% and upper large segment which was up 28.3%.

“New models from local car makers continue to sell encouragingly well, underpinning overall domestic manufacturing volumes,” said McKellar.

The sports utility vehicle (SUV) market was up 4.9% in June while the light truck market was up a modest 2.0%.

Toyota remained clear market leader in June, selling 24,539 vehicles – an all-time record for any brand in any month. GM’s Holden held second place with 14,256 and Ford was third with 10,304.

The FCAI said all indications are that the second half of the calendar year will continue the trend of the first.

“Given the current strong level of vehicle affordability, continuing high employment, rising incomes and asset values, we believe that vehicle sales will continue at this accelerated pace through the remainder of 2007,” said McKellar.