Australia new vehicle sales up in April on Easter effect

SYDNEY Thu May 2, 2013 10:00pm EDT

SYDNEY May 3 (Reuters) - Sales of new vehicles in Australia were up 7.6 percent in April, compared to the same month a year ago, though industry data showed the timing of Easter holidays distorted the result somewhat.

The Australian Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries VFACTS report showed total vehicle sales in April were 85,117, compared to 79,097 for the same month last year. However, April this year had 3 more selling days so that sales per day were actually down 5.9 percent.

The timing of Easter also distorted the monthly comparison, with sales in April down 12.6 percent on March's strong 97,400 result.

For the first four months of 2013, sales were running 5.6 percent ahead of the same period last year, putting the annualised pace of growth at a record 1.132 million.

Demand for sports utility vehicles remained brisk with sales up 11.1 percent on April last year. Solid household income growth, low interest rates on car loans and a high local dollar have all combined to make vehicles more affordable.

For April alone, Toyota retained first place on the sales ladder with an expanded share of 19.9 percent. The local Holden unit of General Motors made a come back to take second spot with 9.4 percent, pipping Mazda at 9.2 percent.

Hyundai held fourth place at 8.6 percent, while Ford recovered some lost ground to take 8.0 percent of the market.

Details of the VFACTS report in original terms:

Apr Mar m/m pct Apr/12 y/y pct

Sales 85,117 97,400 -12.6 79,097 +7.6

Sales by Type: Apr '13/Apr '12 Volumes

Change Pct Change

Passenger Vehicles +2,464 +6.1

Sports Utility +2,427 +11.1

Light Commercial +1,003 +6.9

Heavy Commercial +126 +5.5

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