According to the latest VFACTS data released last week overall new vehicles sales declined in September and were down on the same month last year by 5.5%. SUVs are still growing in popularity as manufacturers increase the number of models on offer; but the decline signals a continued softening in a key indicator of consumer confidence with retail sales down 15.8%.
Government fleet sales also saw a smaller decline of 2.6%, however business fleet purchases remained buoyant, up marginally by 0.3%.
The year-to-date sale are only down 0.9% from the record breaking first nine months in 2017. Overall sales so far this year reached 881,005 to the end of September.
Sales in September fell across all states and territories compared to September 2017, other than Tasmania, which saw an amazing 21.9 per cent increase.
The Tasmanian result was offset with falls in New South Wales (-9.4%), Victoria (-4.9%), Queensland (-4.6%), Western Australia (-1.1%), South Australia (-5.1%), the ACT (-0.6%) and the NT (-6.5%).
The overall decline in the market was led by falls in sales to private purchasers, which declined by 15.8% compared to September 2017.
Tony Weber, the Chief Executive of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, acknowledged that the results demonstrate an adjustment to the market after a sustained period of record sales.
“What we are seeing is a slightly slowing market, after the industry has produced five years of record sales over the past six years” Mr Weber said.
“After a record 2017, year to date sales in 2018 are sitting just 0.9 per cent below last year’s numbers.
“This demonstrates the inherent strength of the market. The decline in passenger vehicle sales and corresponding growth in SUVs also shows that the traditional family car continues to evolve in Australia.”
The Toyota Hilux was Australia’s best-selling vehicle during August with total sales of 4,338, followed by the Ford Ranger with 3,228 and the Toyota Corolla with 2,917.
The Hyundai i30 (2,508), and the Mitsubishi ASX (2,138) both moved up the list from August to round out the top five.
Toyota again led with an 18.4 per cent share of the September market, followed by Hyundai (8.6%), Mitsubishi (8.0%), Mazda (7.5%) and Nissan (5.5%).