Australia new vehicle sales rise 0.8 pct in Aug

SYDNEY, Sept 17 Mon Sep 16, 2013 10:15pm EDT

SYDNEY, Sept 17 (Reuters) - Sales of new motor vehicles in Australia bounced in August after a sharp drop the previous month, with demand for sports utility vehicles staying healthy, data showed on Tuesday.

Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed new vehicle sales rose 0.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted 94,396 in August, from 93,633 in July.

Sales had been volatile the previous two months, first jumping 3.6 percent in June only to fall by the same amount in July.

Annual growth in sales slowed further, with sales up a slight 0.2 percent on August last year.

Demand may have been impacted in August by a proposal by the then Labor government to end a tax break for some car buyers. The new Coalition government has promised to dump the plan.

Sales of passenger vehicles increased by 2.1 percent in August, while those for sports utilities rose 2.9 percent and were up over 6 percent on the year.

Sales of other vehicles, including trucks, fell 5.3 percent, continuing a very volatile run.

Earlier this month, the Australian Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries VFACTS report also showed total vehicle sales were flat when compared with August last year. Sales for the first seven months of 2013 were running 4 percent ahead of the same period last year.

Toyota retained first place on the sales ladder in August, followed by the local Holden unit of General Motors and Mazda.

A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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