CAR SALES DEFY GLOOM OF 2009

NT News - Motoring - - NEWS - By PAUL GOVER

DOL­LAR deals and Can­berra cash kept Aus­tralians de­scend­ing on new-car show­rooms in near record num­bers through 2009.

Hyundai proved the right price was vi­tal as it lifted its over­all sales by nearly 40 per cent, and put two cars into the top 10 sell­ers, in a year when over­all car sales dropped by 7.4 per cent against the 2008 re­sult.

Last year’s to­tal of 937,328 also in­cluded about 80,000 ve­hi­cles that were part of Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment’s 50 per cent in­vest­ment al­lowance, de­vised as a stim­u­lus pack­age to com­bat the lo­cal ef­fects of the global fi­nan­cial cri­sis.

A late sales surge saw a record re­sult for De­cem­ber, up nearly 16 per cent on De­cem­ber 2008, and more than 2000 sales bet­ter than the pre­vi­ous best re­sult in De­cem­ber 2007.

On a na­tional ba­sis, the North­ern Ter­ri­tory suf­fered most in the 2009 down­turn with a 15.1 per cent fall in sales, while West­ern Aus­tralia had a 14 per cent fall.

Vic­to­ria was down 7.5 per cent, Queens­land dropped 7.2 per cent, Tas­ma­nia 6 per cent, New South Wales 5.4 per cent, South Aus­tralia 5.2 per cent and the ACT 2.8 per cent.

Toy­ota was Aus­tralia’s favourite brand for the sev­enth-straight year in 2009. But the full-sized Holden Com­modore con­tin­ued its long run as Aus­tralia’s num­ber-one car.

Last year also was the year when a new class of car — tiny city run­abouts priced at less than $15,000 — be­gan to make an im­pact here.

The Suzuki Alto led a charge which will now grow to in­clude the first Chi­ne­se­made im­ports this year.

The of­fi­cial VFacts sales to­tals for last year point clearly to the pop­u­lar­ity of small cars, with the Toy­ota Corolla sec­ond over­all and the Mazda3 in fourth place.

Holden’s Ade­laide-built Com­modore has been Aus­tralia’s top-sell­ing car since 1996.

NO 2: The Corolla was the best-sell­ing small car

NO 1: The Com­modore was Aus­tralia’s favourite car for 2009

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