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AUSTRALIA: September sales slip 2.1%

By Graeme Roberts | 3 October 2013

Toyota was the top selling brand in Australia last month with 17,492 vehicles sold.

The automaker also had the top two selling cars for the month - the Corolla (3,443 sales) and Hilux (3,341). Mazda's 3 was third top selling car (3,052 units), followed by the Holden Commodore (2,869) and Hyundai i30 (2,675).

Holden was the second highest selling brand with 9,614 units sold, followed by Hyundai (8,803), Mazda (7,615), and Ford (7,505).

Total vehicle sales were down 2.1% compared to September last year, with 92,662 vehicles sold. Government and business purchases, in particular, were low with sales down 15.5% and 10%, respectively, compared to September 2012. Private sales last month were 6% higher than in September 2012.

FCAI chief executive Tony Weber said he was confident sales would pick up for the last months of the year with the election period over and the reinstatement of the statutory formula method for salary-sacrificed and employer-provided cars.

"The announcement by the coalition to return to pre-July FBT arrangements has been welcomed by the industry. We anticipate the market effect of this announcement will see positive growth throughout the rest of the year," Weber said. “Consumers can be confident that the recent FBT issue is now behind us.”

His view was echoed by Toyota Australia. Sales and marketing chief Tony Cramb said vital orders, particularly from fleet customers, were starting to recover following the rejection of proposed changes to the fringe benefits tax on motor vehicles.

"Toyota welcomes the new federal government's public confirmation it will not implement the amendments which had been proposed by its predecessor in the lead-up to the recent election," Cramb said.

"The new government's announcement means the tax treatment of salary sacrifice, novated leases and company-owned vehicles remains unchanged from the system that has worked effectively for many years," he added.

"The position is clear and the early signs are promising, although it is natural that it will take time for customers to regain their full confidence before resuming normal purchasing patterns."

September VFACTS data showed SUV popularity continues to grow, with sales rising 3.8% compared to September 2012. With the continued increase, year to date (YTD) SUV sales are ahead 8.9% compared to the same period last year. Significant growth is reflected in the sale of small SUVs (19.6% YTD growth).

Passenger and light commercial vehicle sales are low compared to 2012, down 3.9% and 6% (respectively) on September 2012 figures. However, YTD light commercial sales are up 5.2% on 2012, while YTD passenger sales have fallen by 0.3%.

In a market of more than 350 models, the Australian-made Holden Commodore, Toyota Camry and Holden Cruze were all in the top 10 in September.