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Australia sets new car sales record in 2015

Powering through ... the Toyota Corolla has been picked as the favourite car of the year.

Official figures have confirmed Australians bought a record number of new cars in 2015, eclipsing 1.1 million sales for the fourth year in a row — and we’re developing an expensive taste in luxury cars.

The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries said 1,155,408 new vehicles were reported as sold last year, up 3.8 per cent on the previous year and up 1.6 per cent on the previous record of 1,136,227 set in 2013.

Low interest rates and a rush of new models helped drive the growth, with the Toyota Corolla crowned as our favourite car for the third year in row.

Toyota was the top-selling car brand overall for the 13th consecutive year but its sales were down on its previous record set in 2008.

Ford and Holden were the only two among the Top 10 brands to post sales declines in the record market.

Sales of small cars were overtaken by SUVs

Outside the Top 10, the biggest improvers were luxury brands, with most posting records.

German car makers Audi (up 20 per cent), BMW (up 10 per cent) and Mercedes-Benz (up 14 per cent) all posted massive gains, with Mercedes-Benz beating its rivals by selling more than 30,000 vehicles for the first time in a calendar year.

Super-luxury brands also posted massive sales gains, with Ferrari enjoying a record year (up 47 per cent) and Porsche (up 45 per cent) while Lamborghini tripled its sales from the previous year following a change in local distributors.

But not every luxury marque was a winner. While Bentley sales surged 17 per cent, Rolls-Royce sales fell by 23 per cent with just 30 vehicles reported as sold in 2015.

For the first time ever, sales of small cars were overtaken by SUVs.

In 2014 Australians bought 376,800 small cars and 352,400 SUVs.

But last year the tables were turned, with a staggering 408,471 SUVs sold versus 355,793 small cars.

The shift has been driven in part by the arrival of city-sized SUVs that are, in effect, high-riding hatchbacks.

Utes remained the third biggest vehicle category, with 175,000 sold in 2015, the same as the previous year.

How many cars do you think will be sold in 2016? Let us know in the comments below.