Lux­ury tax push takes heavy toll

Sales woes are com­pounded by tax plan, writes NEIL McDON­ALD

Herald Sun - Motoring - - News -

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.

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