Australia new vehicle sales up strong 15.7 pct in Dec-industry

Thu Jan 3, 2013 8:06pm EST

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SYDNEY, Jan 4 (Reuters) - Sales of new vehicles in Australia
rose a rapid 15.7 percent in December from a year earlier,
industry data showed on Friday, with consumers seemingly
confident enough to splash out on big ticket items despite being
cost conscious elsewhere.
    The Australian Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries
VFACTS report showed total vehicle sales in December were
95,427, compared to 82,459 in the same month of 2011.
    Sales were down 2.9 percent on November in original terms, 
but after adjusting for seasonal factors sales increased by 3.1 
percent. Sales for the year to December were 1.11 million, up
10.3 percent on the previous year.
    Sales of sport utility vehicles ended a barnstorming year on
a strong note with an increase of 14.3 percent compared to 
December 2011. The light commercial market boasted a huge jump
of 40 percent and sales of heavy trucks rose 7.8 percent,
pointing to solid business investment.
    The strength of vehicle sales has been in stark contrast
with softness seen in retail spending, with consumers perhaps
attracted by low interest rates on car loans.
    For December alone, Toyota retained first place on
the sales ladder with 22.2 percent of the market. Mazda 
climbed to second spot with 10.0 percent, overtaking the Holden
unit of General Motors with 9.1 percent.
    Hyundai Moved up to fourth with 8.1 percent,
while Ford dropped back a place with 8.0 percent.
    For all of 2012, Toyota again led with 19.6 percent of the
market. Holden came second, but its share declined by over two
percentage points to 10.3 percent. Mazda took third spot, while
Ford fell two spots to fifth on the sales table.
    
    Details of the VFACTS report in original terms:
               Dec      Nov    m/m pct   Dec/11  y/y pct     
    Sales     95,427   98,347   -2.9     82,459  +15.7
    
    Sales by Type:         Dec '12/Dec '11 Volumes        
                            Change    Pct Change          
    Passenger Vehicles      +4,854      +10.6        
    Sports Utility          +3,181      +14.3    
    Light Commercial        +4,731      +40.3 
    Heavy Commercial          +202       +7.8
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