Car sales die down in December
Fifth month in a row of declining passenger vehicle sales.
Cars as Christmas gifts were not a popular choice last year, as new car sales fell again in December.
The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures revealed a minor reduction (0.4%) in overall vehicle sales across the country, despite a monthly rise (0.3%) in other vehicle sales.
December marks the fifth consecutive month of decreasing passenger vehicle sales (-0.2%).
Sales of sports utility vehicles (SUVs) had been falling rapidly since the beginning of the year, seemingly ending Australia's love affair with SUVs. However, the decline in SUV sales was reversed in August and as the weather began to warm up in September, October and November, sales rose again.
The first decline (-1%) in SUV sales in five months was recorded in December.
South Australia (0.1%) and the ACT (1.7%) were the only states to enjoy monthly gains in overall vehicle sales throughout December, while Western Australia (-1.4%), Northern Territory (-1.3%), Victoria (-0.9%), Queensland (-0.3%) and Tasmania (-0.3%) recorded falls. Sales in New South Wales remained flat.
It's not all bad news though. The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries said Australians purchased 1.18 million new cars in 2016, topping the previous year's figures and setting a new national sales record.
For the 14th consecutive year, Toyota (209,610) topped the list for most car sales in Australia.
The next closest, in terms of sales, was Mazda (118,217). Hyundai (101,555) rounded out the top three.
Despite decreasing sales numbers, car manufacturers returned the highest overall rate of customer satisfaction among any industry in the recent Roy Morgan Customer Satisfaction Awards 2016.