Luxury tax push takes heavy toll
Sales woes are compounded by tax plan, writes NEIL McDONALD
THE luxury car-tax controversy has hit home with luxury sales collapsing. Sales in the segment fell 19.3 per cent last month, compared with the same month last year.
The tax crisis has been compounded by wider economic uncertainty and slowing consumer confidence, which has hit overall sales, Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries chief executive Andrew McKellar says.
Some luxury dealers are reporting a 30 per cent drop in sales despite the tax rise being rejected by the Senate. The future of the 8 per cent tax rise will be decided in a second hearing by Federal Parliament on Monday.
McKellar says the tax issue and slowing consumer confidence helped drag down overall sales.
He says it is ‘‘economically irresponsible’’ to persist with this measure in the current circumstances.
Last month’s downturn also reflects the broader slowdown in domestic demand ‘‘largely attributable to previous interest rate rises’’, he says.
‘‘The official interest rate cut is a welcome move and will help renew future confidence in the marketplace. Unfortunately the figures suggest it may have come too late and further reductions may be necessary.’’
The latest VFACTS figures show 77,324 vehicles were sold last month, down 10,882 vehicles or 12.3 per cent on the same month last year.
But in year-to-date terms sales remain buoyant. They are up 0.7 per cent overall, compared with the same time last year, with 703,995 vehicles sold.
But August sales in all passenger segments were down.
Toyota continues to hold top spot in the sales race with a 22.9 per cent market share, followed by Holden with 13.8 per cent and Ford 11.1 per cent.
Year to date, Toyota leads the sales race with 165,641 vehicles. Holden is second on 88,969 and Ford third with 72,536.
Individually, the large-car segment is still taking a battering.
Ford sold 2708 FG Falcons last month and overall Falcon sales are down 7.9 per cent for the year. Sales of the Holden Commodore, the best-selling vehicle last month, are down 17.6 per cent this year.