Tax break lifts mid-year sales
Car dealers are feeling nicely stimulated, writes NEIL McDONALD
JUNE gave the car industry reason to rejoice after months of doom and gloom. The halfway mark of the year is usually a strong retail month, but dealers report that the Federal Government’s small-business stimulus package is driving extra sales.
The investment allowance helped push ute sales, making the Toyota HiLux the country’s top-selling vehicle ahead of the Holden Commodore.
GM Holden’s executive director of sales and marketing, Alan Batey, summed it up: ‘‘We expected June to be strong, but it was better than expected.’’
Business purchases last month were 46,679 — a 12 per cent increase on a year ago.
Ute, van and light trucks surged 26.9 per cent compared with June last year.
The strength of the market surprised some leading carmakers and importers.
Toyota sold 4756 HiLuxes, eight more than Commodore sales, to make it the third time in 18 months that HiLux has outsold the sedan.
Holden’s new small car, the Cruze, had a confident start, 873 leaving the showrooms.
Tradies and recreational buyers also swamped dealers. Mitsubishi sold 3043 Tritons and Nissan 2568 Navaras. Holden sold 1577 Commodore utes.
The HiLux continues to dominate the 4x2 and 4x4 ute segments, with a 23 per cent share of the 4x2 market and 27 per cent of the 4x4s.
Apart from the ute, the Yaris and Corolla are helping to firm Toyota’s position as market leader this year. Toyota sold 4066 Corollas and 2194 Yarises in June.
Budget buyers also gave Hyundai dealers reason to smile — they sold 2742 i30s and 2263 Getzes.
Toyota Australia’s senior executive director, David Buttner, says June’s figures and overall consumer confidence is cause for optimism for the remainder of the year.
The June volume of 102,847 vehicles is down 3694 sales or 3.5 per cent on June, 2008, (106,541 vehicles), but it’s the third highest monthly volume on record.
So far this year 455,223 vehicles have been sold, which is down on the same period last year by 16.1 per cent or 87,742 vehicles.