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Toyota set to dominate

The Japanese car maker now owns a massive 21.9 per cent of the market, a rise of 0.6 per cent compared with the corresponding period last year.

Australia's leading seller has surged to 91,984 sales to the end of May compared with 82,227 for the first five months of last year.

Toyota is driving the industry to continued forecasts that more than a million vehicles will be sold for the first time in a calendar year in Australia.

The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries has nominated an annualised rate (SAAR) of 1.022 million vehicles for 2007.

Chief contributors to Toyota's booming figures are the four-cylinder Camry while the 4 x 2 and 4 x 4 variants of the HiLux have recorded huge jumps along with the Yaris and the introduction of the V6 Aurion.

Significantly, since improved supply, the petrol/electric Prius has more than doubled on 2006 figures with 1333 sold to the end of May compared with 625 for the same period last year.

Toyota continues to punch above the performance of the total market.

“Our aspirations are always to grow bigger than the market,” Toyota Australia chairman Emeritus John Conomos said at the launch recently of the 10th generation Corolla.

“No one has ever achieved 25 per cent of the market in modern times before.

“It's probably not achievable this year but it's a goal worth setting.”

Holden remains in Toyota's shadow. It has increased sales from 60,792 to 61,863 year-on-year, but its market share is down from 15.7 to 14.8 per cent.

Ford is a clear number three but has slipped almost 5000 sales year-on-year and has lost 2 per cent market share which now stands at 10.5 per cent.

Mitsubishi continues to claw its way back and is moving up on Nissan in a fight for fifth spot.

Those models selling well for Mitsubishi have been the Lancer, Outlander, Pajero and the Triton 4 x 4 although the model which the Adelaide maker has staked its future on, the 380, has declined from 5176 to 4641 in year-on-year figures.

On the luxury front, BMW recorded its second successive monthly record with 1497 vehicles finding owners, taking its year-to-date tally to 6462.

What has been a massive seller for BMW has been the new hardtop 3-series convertible and coupe with combined sales standing at 1170 compared with 313 this time last year.

While sales of the X5 Sport Utility Vehicle remain robust and Z4 convertible and coupe sales have grown by a massive 49.4 per cent it is the two-door 3-series models which have allowed BMW to gain significant market momentum.

BMW customer deliveries last month were 11.7 per cent higher than May 2006, adding an extra 157 units to last May's record figure.

Volkswagen, the only European importer to make the top 10 list, has lifted its year-on-year volume share to 2.6 per cent from 1.9 per cent with sales topping 10,918 to the end of May.