Australia new vehicle sales jump 4 pct to record in June

SYDNEY, July 15 Sun Jul 14, 2013 9:53pm EDT

SYDNEY, July 15 (Reuters) - Sales of new motor vehicles in Australia jumped by the most in 10 months in June to hit a record high, a sign consumers were upbeat enough to splash out on big ticket items despite surveys showing subdued confidence.

Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics on Monday showed new vehicle sales rose 4.0 percent to a seasonally adjusted 97,687 in June, from 93,927 in May. The jump left sales up 7.1 percent on June last year and a big acceleration from May.

The strength of demand for vehicles sits at odds with measures of consumer sentiment and retail sales which have been rather downbeat in recent months.

Sales of passenger vehicles increased by 3.7 percent in the month, while those for sports utilities rose 2.7 percent. Sales of other vehicles, including trucks, climbed 6.6 percent, which came on top of a 4.0 percent rise the previous month and pointed to solid business investment.

Earlier this month, the Australian Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries VFACTS report showed total vehicle sales were up 5.5 percent on June last year. Sales for the first six months of 2013 were running 4.7 percent ahead of the same period last year.

Toyota had retained first place on the sales ladder in June, followed by the local Holden unit of General Motors , Hyundai and Ford.

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