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2008 new car sales hit million

Despite a slide in vehicle sales, the final figure managed to hit a million in 2008

The official showroom total for 2008 is 1,012,164 vehicles, a result achieved despite a major slide during the final quarter thanks to the global economic meltdown.

Toyota continued its reign as Australia's favourite brand but the Holden Commodore survived the challenge from Brand T's compact Corolla and working-class HiLux ute for another year at the top of the tree.

The full-year results were confirmed this morning by VFacts, which also confirmed a December total of 76,510 vehicles, down by 11.3 per cent on the same month in 2007.

Despite the late slide, and gloomy predictions of a major fall to around 850,000 sales in the coming year, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries put a positive spin on the results.

"I think it's a good result, in fact an outstanding result," says the chief executive of the FCAI, Andrew McKellar.

Toyota, Mazda, Subaru and Volkswagen were the only top-10 brands to improve their full-year sales in 2008, as a number of high fliers including Nissan, Honda and Hyundai went backwards.

The full-year total was only 37,818 vehicles, or 3.6 per cent, behind the all-time record set in 2007, but the passenger car market fell by 6.3 per cent.

Once again it was large cars which suffered most, with the Commodore-Falcon class falling 14.4 per cent on the 2007 result.

TOP 10 BRANDS 2008

Official VFacts figures (Previous year in brackets)

1. Toyota, 238,983 (236,647) +.98%

2. Holden, 130,338 (146,680) -11.14%

3. Ford, 104,715 (108,071) -3.1%

4. Mazda, 79,826 (77,734) +2.69%

5. Mitsubishi, 60,692 (65,397) -7.19%

6. Nissan, 59,214 (60,015) -1.33%

7. Honda, 52,571 (60,529) -13.15%

8. Hyundai, 45,409 (50,007) -9.19%

9. Subaru, 38,492 (38,445) +0.12%

10. Volkswagen, 29,875 (27,400) +9.03%

By contrast, the United States market fared much worse in terms of percentages, with most of the major brands taking a significant sales hit, the main exception being BMW's Mini brand, which recorded a small rise.

Audi -9.3%
BMW  -40.2%
Chevrolet -25.8%
Chrysler -59.8%
Dodge  -51.9%
Ford  -33%
Honda   -34%
HUMMER -59.3%
Jeep  -48.5%
Kia  -39.2%
Lexus -32.4%
Mazda   -27.9%
Mercedes-Benz -32.1%
Mini +0.1%    
Mitsubishi -22.6%
Nissan -30%
Pontiac -45.5%
Porsche  -25.5%
Saab  -57%    
Saturn  -30.9%
Subaru -7.7%                                                   
Toyota  -37.5%
Volkswagen -14.4%
Volvo -47%