Although new passenger car sales in December were marginally down on the same month in 2003, full year 2004 produced the biggest new vehicle market since 1989. 98,792 new vehicles were sold (74,775 cars and 24,037 commercials), a 7.4% increase on the 2003 result.

"Although we didn't quite get to the magic 100,000 it was nevertheless an excellent year for the industry," said Motor Industry Association CEO Perry Kerr. "In a continuation of the cycle of recovery for the new vehicle industry since the elimination of tariffs, we have seen sales of new vehicles increase by 50% since 1998."

Toyota, Ford and Holden held their places as the top three sellers in the market, but the big movers amongst the major players in 2004 were Hyundai (up 52.7%), Subaru (up 26.8%), Honda and Nissan (up 18.9% and 18.7% respectively).

Toyota's Corolla took the top spot for individual models in December, but the Holden Commodore finished comfortably ahead of the Ford Falcon for the full year, with the Corolla third.