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New car discounts may start early

Buyers can expect heavy discounts as the slump in new car sales takes hold.

Buyers can expect heavy discounts as the slump in new car sales takes hold.

One analyst, Tony Robinson, of the SurePlan Lease group in Melbourne expects the January sales to start early.

"They could start as early as this month," he said.

"Many companies ordered stock three to five months ago when things were buoyant and now that stock is starting to arrive."

Many dealers are stuck with unsold inventory, which could be a bonus for end-of-year bargain hunters.

New car sales were down 10 per cent last month, according to the latest VFACTS car industry figures released by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries.

The FCAI is concerned the stock backlog will create a fire-sale mentality.

"I think it is well understood that inventory levels have been rising," FCAI chief executive, Andrew McKellar, said.

"There is no doubt there have been rising stocks."

The softening in demand was affecting the ability of some dealers to secure floor-stock finance, McKellar said.

The industry was monitoring the impact of liquidity constraints on the availability of wholesale finance to dealers.

It was hoping to find "alternative solutions" to avoid the risk of further problems, he said.

The VFACTS figures show that the new car market is in severe decline, with 79,105 vehicles sold last month, down 10,184 vehicle sales or 11.4 per cent on October 2007.

Many brands have been hit hard, among them Mazda, Kia, Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz and Lexus.

Mazda, which has been a sales star in recent years, reporting a 24 per cent sales drop last month.

Budget Koreans, Hyundai and Kia experienced a 35 per cent and 31 per cent sales plunge.

Lexus sales fell more than 60 per cent last month and Mercedes-Benz sales were off 43 per cent.

Many luxury marques blame the negative impact of the new Luxury Car Tax, which rose 8 per cent to 33 per cent from July 1.

Local carmaker Holden also reported an 11 per cent drop for the month.

Overall, Toyota remains the top seller for the year.

It's workhorse HiLux outsold even the Holden Commodore last month and the Corolla again performed strongly.

It is the second month this year where the HiLux has been the country's favourite car.

Nissan's Navara ute surprised the industry with a solid result and Suzuki recorded an all-time sales record.

"It's a fantastic result, particularly given the tightening economic situation," Suzuki Australia general manager, Tony Devers, said.




1 Toyota 18,705

2 Holden 10,171

3 Ford 8567

4 Mazda 5529

5 Nissan 5219

6 Honda 5154

7 Mitsubishi 4450

8 Hyundai 3039

9 Subaru 2708

10 Volkswagen 2021