Australia new vehicle sales up 11.3 pct in Jan-industry
SYDNEY, Feb 5 (Reuters) - Sales of new vehicles in Australia were up 11.3 percent in January from a year earlier, industry data showed on Tuesday, with brisk sales of commercial vehicles pointing to strength in business investment. The Australian Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries VFACTS report showed total vehicle sales in January were 85,430, compared to 76,783 in the same month of 2012. Sales were down 10.5 percent on December, a seasonal dip from a very strong month. Sales last year were the highest on record at 1.11 million, up 10.3 percent on 2011. Australians showed no sign of ending their love affair with sport utility vehicles buying 4,459 more of them than in January last year, an increase of 20.1 percent. The light commercial market boasted a second month of huge gains with a rise of 43.9 percent, while sales of heavy trucks were up 10.3 percent, auguring well for 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. A high local dollar has also been keeping down prices for imported cars. For January, Toyota retained first place on the sales ladder but its share slipped back to 15.7 percent. Mazda held second spot with 10.4 percent, just pipping the Holden unit of General Motors with 10.3 percent. Ford regained fourth spot with 9.0 percent of the market, while Nissan overtook Hyundai by grabbing 8.5 percent. Details of the VFACTS report in original terms: Jan Dec m/m pct Jan/12 y/y pct Sales 85,430 95,427 -10.5 76,783 +11.3 Sales by Type: Jan '13/Jan '12 Volumes Change Pct Change Passenger Vehicles -557 -1.3 Sports Utility +4,459 +20.1 Light Commercial +4,569 +43.9 Heavy Commercial +176 +10.3
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