just-auto.com

AUSTRALIA: Global dip starts to bite

By just-auto.com editorial team | 6 November 2008

A familiar refrain was heard from Australia on Thursday - a drop in new vehicles sales during October reflected the broader slowdown in the domestic and world economies as well as reduced access to wholesale and consumer finance.

Official VFACTS data compiled by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) showed that volume last month fell 11.4% year on year to 79,105 cars, trucks and buses.

But year-to-date new vehicle sales were down only 0.9% to 864,037.

"These figures confirm that the global financial crisis is having an impact on broader economic activity, including the new vehicle market," FCAI chief executive Andrew McKellar said.

"While it is clear that current economic uncertainties have affected consumer demand, the industry is also monitoring the impact of liquidity constraints on the availability of wholesale finance to dealers," he said.

GMAC announced at the end of October it would withdraw from wholesale and retailing auto financing in Australia at the end of the year.

"The industry is working systematically to find alternative solutions to this issue in an effort to avoid the risk of further disruption to the market," McKellar said.

"The most recent interest rate cut was well justified and will hopefully go some way to rebuilding confidence in the marketplace."

Light commercial vehicle sales nonetheless climbed 7.9% compared to the same month last year.

But all other segments slumped: passenger vehicles down 13.8%, SUVs down 19.1% and heavy commercial vehicles down 15.9%.

Toyota remained top dog with market share of 23.6%, followed by General Motors' Holden with 12.9% and Ford with 10.8%.

Year to date, Toyota has sold 202,511 vehicles, followed by Holden (109,771) and Ford (89,983).