Australia new vehicle sales up 11.3 pct in Jan-industry

Mon Feb 4, 2013 8:00pm EST

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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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