04/05/2016 - 13:17

Green shoots in car sales

04/05/2016 - 13:17

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Vehicle sales in Western Australia appear to be reaching the end of a long tumble, with April sales this year down just 0.1 per cent on the same month in 2015.

New cars at Fremantle Ports.

Vehicle sales in Western Australia appear to be reaching the end of a long tumble, with April sales this year down just 0.1 per cent on the same month in 2015.

But WA was the only state to record a fall in the month, with Tasmania and the Northern Territory, which have both struggled this year, both recording increases.

April sales were 7,601, according to the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, compared to 7,609 in April 2015.

In the four months to the end of April, sales were down 3.3 per cent to 33,241 vehicles.

Sales of passenger vehicles showed very positive signs, up 6 per cent for the month.

Commercial and SUV sales fell, however, with the small heavy commercial vehicle market suffering the worst, a 26 per cent fall on April last year.

That took the total contraction of year to date sales to 19.5 per cent for heavy vehicles.

Among the big name brands, results were mixed.

Mitsubishi fell 7.9 per cent to 468 for April, while Nissan fell 7.7 per cent to 349.

Toyota and Ford were both up, the former 9 per cent stronger for April at 1,723 and Ford 20.3 per cent higher at 598.

Hyundai grew a huge 45.6 per cent to 913, while Holden fell 18.2 per cent to 532.

Holden was the worst performer in the year to date of those six companies.

CommSec economist Savanth Sebastian said nationally, the car industry had benefitted from  improved household budgets and low interest rates.

“Over the year to April, a record 1,169,057 new vehicles were sold, Mr Sebastian said.

“And it is very likely that the latest interest rate cut by the Reserve Bank of Australia will spur another round of big ticket purchases.

“Of note, sports utility vehicles (or four-wheel drive vehicles) remain the ‘new black’.

“While sales of ‘ordinary’ passenger cars rose by 4.7 per cent in April compared with a year ago, SUVs lifted by a much larger 7.1 per cent over the year.”

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