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AUSTRALIA: Tax break boosts 2009 sales

By just-auto.com editorial team | 6 January 2010

The Australian new vehicle market ended the year strongly, if down slightly, due to record annual sales that well exceeded industry forecasts with many of the additional sales attributed to the federal government's business tax break. December saw record volume for that month, too.

Official VFACTS data released by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) showed that 937,328 passenger cars, SUVs and commercial vehicles were sold in calendar year 2009 - down 7.4% compared to 2008.

The year ended strongly with a record number of vehicles sold last month (up 15.9% on 2008).

"Given all the challenges and uncertainties thrown at the industry by the global economy this is an exceptional result," FCAI chief executive Andrew McKellar said.

"The 'game changing' measure that restored confidence in the marketplace and stimulated additional demand was the bonus tax break for business."

"The final outcome for the year has surpassed the industry's original expectations by some 57,000 vehicles and a significant proportion of this additional volume can be attributed to the tax break," he added.

Looking ahead, the FCAI forecast that new vehicle sales in 2010 will exceed 940,000.

"The challenges of the past year have not yet fully passed so 2010 will be a year of consolidation for the industry," McKellar said.

One note of caution influencing the industry outlook relates to interest rates.

"There is a real risk that if market lending rates are further increased, excessively, the momentum of the economic recovery now underway could be damaged," he said.

Toyota was the best performing brand in 2009 for the seventh year in a row with a market share of 21.4%, ahead of Holden with 12.8% and Ford with 10.3%

The most popular vehicle model, for the 14th year in a row, was the Holden Commodore; ahead of the Toyota Corolla and Hilux.