Browse over 9,000 car reviews

Brakes applied on car sales

Ford and Holden's fortunes rely on large V6s, which continue to decline in popularity.

Most of the country's popular makes have shed sales during April.

The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries' monthly market bulletin, to be released tomorrow, will reveal a 7.7 per cent contraction on March sales.

More vehicles have been sold this year to date than last year, but the 84,296 new cars and trucks sold in April is almost 7000 sales down on March.

This reverse follows record results for January and February this year and in 2007, when more than a million cars sold for the first time in a calendar year.

“We're seeing the impact of all the interest-rate hikes, the continuing surge in fuel prices and the huge slump in consumer confidence,” AMP economist Shane Oliver said.

“Car sales have held up pretty well, but all those factors are starting to catch up.

“People can put off a decision to buy a car, but they can't put off rent or food or health.”

The worst news is for local car-makers. Holden sold 650 fewer Commodores in April than in March. The company's mainstay car is 5000 units down for the year to date, compared with the same period in 2007.

The one-time market leader was outsold by Toyota's Corolla, with 3722 of the imported four-cylinder compacts sold during April compared with the Commodore's 3325 sales.

Toyota also lost sales, but extended its market lead. With almost 21,000 sales, it sold more than twice as many vehicles of all models as second-placed Holden.

Toyota's Yaris, Camry, Aurion and HiLux models, as well as the Corolla, were among the 10 most popular models.

Ford, whose new Falcon goes on sale soon, was third, with 8246 sales — its worst result.

Mazda was next with 6749, then Mitsubishi on 5014.

Ford and Holden's fortunes rely on large V6s, which continue to decline in popularity.

The only Ford- or Holden-badged cars to improve sales during March were the Focus and

the Astra, both made in Europe and fitted with economical, four-cylinder petrol or diesel engines.

Each of the top five makes lost about 1000 sales in April, but sales remain ahead of the corresponding period last year.

A total of 347,749 new vehicles were sold to April 30, compared with 330,682 during the first four months of 2007.

New-car sales had been forecast to pass the million mark again this year, but Mr Oliver said this was now unlikely.

“Big-ticket discretionary items will be sacrificed, whether it's flat-screen TVs or cars,” he said.

“The only thing that will help is tax cuts, but I would say they will be swamped by all these other factors.”

 


VEHICLES SOLD IN THE PAST TWO MONTHS

...........................March .... April

Toyota ............ 21,669 ... 20,842

Holden ............ 11,203 ... 10,193

Ford ............... 9206 ...... 8246

Mazda ............ 7565 ...... 6749

Mitsubishi ....... 6177 ...... 5014

Other makes ... 35,465 ... 33,252

Total new passenger vehicle sales of all makes

........................ March .... April

........................ 91,285 ... 84,296 (-7.7 %)