Australians bought 96,443 new passenger cars, SUVs and commercial vehicles in February 2016, just over 6,000 (or 6.7% more) than in February 2015. The strong start to the year has seen new car sales increase 4.8% year-to-date.

Releasing the February 2016 VFACTS figures, FCAI chief executive Tony Weber said passenger cars just held on to the title of top selling category, with the vehicles making up 41% of the total market for February 2016. The SUV segment followed closely with 38.2% of the market. Light commercial vehicles accounted for 18.1% and heavy commercial vehicles accounted for 2.6%.

"The 36,865 new SUV sales represents a 15.1% increase on SUV sales in February 2015. The 17,486 light commercial vehicle sales are 12.8% higher than February 2015 light commercial vehicle sales, and the 39,558 passenger car sales are 3% lower than February 2015 passenger car sales," Weber said.

"Business buyers continued to show confidence through February, with sales to business buyers up 15.6% compared to February 2015. In particular, business purchases of light commercial vehicles increased 32.8% and business purchases of SUVs increased 18.8%. Sales to private buyers increased 1.1% and sales to government increased 1.9%."

The Toyota Corolla was the most popular vehicle in February 2016, with 3,455 of the small passenger cars sold. It was followed by the Mazda 3 (3,354), the Toyota Hilux (3,261) the Ford Ranger (2,655) and Hyundai i30 (2,461).

Toyota was the top selling brand in February 2016 with 16.8% of the market, followed by Mazda with 10.6%, Hyundai with 8%, Holden with 7.6% and Mitsubishi with 6.9%.