Sales of passenger cars, SUV and commercial vehicles across Australia hit a new April record of 87,571, 2.9% above the previous best for that month set three years ago in what a local lobby group said was "another demonstration of the motor industry's price-competitiveness".

SUVs (up 7.1% or 2,119 on April 2015) and light commercials were again the star performers, although a strong push occurred in passenger cars (up 4.7% or 1,656 sales) with intense competition in the small and medium segments.

The record April return comes at a time when the motor industry is facing a threat to jobs and growth from proposed new parallel import legislation which would allow vehicles to be imported without the protection of a warranty.

The chief executive of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, Tony Weber, said the continued sales growth in the industry was indicative of the fierce price competitiveness of the Australian new car market, and that this vigorous tax and employment-generating segment of the economy was facing significant uncertainty under the proposed government legislation.

"By the government's own modelling, at least 30,000 sales could be lost out of our market, consumer protection diminished, and jobs exported overseas when this new legislation is introduced," Weber said.

"The April record just posted provides further evidence that the industry is price-competitive, offering great value to buyers, delivering jobs and investment, and in no need of change.

"We are just a handful of months into 2016 and already the market is on target for another record. And yet the government wants to put this investment, these jobs, this tax revenue, at risk. It makes no sense."

The 87,571 vehicles sales during April were 7.2% or 5,915 higher than that posted in the same month last year.

Big gains were recorded in medium SUV, sports, people mover and the upper large SUV segments in April 2016 while the small passenger (up 6.9%) and medium passenger (up 6.8%) were both busy parts of the market at the expense of large cars (down 6.2%) and upper large (down 23.2%). 

Business purchases of motor vehicles in April 2016 were strong across the board, with passenger vehicles up 15.6%, SUVs up 15.2% and light commercials up 32.6% compared with April 2015.

"The changes announced in the federal budget could further encourage business purchases of new motor vehicles," Weber said. 

Toyota remained overall market leader for the month with an 18.9% share, with Hyundai second (9.9%), followed by Mazda (9.7%), Ford (7.8) and Holden (7.7). 

The Hyundai i30 was the nation's best-selling vehicle (4,143 sales during April) with two light commercial vehicles – the Toyota Hilux (3,384) and the Ford Ranger (2,973) – finishing second and third respectively, followed by the Toyota Corolla (2,959), and Mazda 3 (2,512).

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