October breaks Australia all-time car sales record for the month

Andrew Munro 3 November 2017

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More traffic in dealerships and on the roads.

October took Australian car sales in 2017 up another notch, with 95,763 vehicles sold. This tops the previous October all-time-high from 2012. With two months left in the year, it also puts 2017 car sales slightly ahead of last year's record total. In the year to date, total industry sales now sit at 984,931 compared to 980,433 in October 2016.

Like previous months, the high sales numbers were largely driven by demand for SUVs and light commercial vehicles, and overall passenger car sales are still slipping as a result. Overall passenger car sales declined by 3.8% in October compared to the previous month, and for the January-October period, passenger car sales are down by 6.9% compared to 2016.

However, small passenger cars are an exception, with sales experiencing a distinct 9.7% upswing in October. Of the top three selling vehicles in October, two of them (the Hyundai i30 and Toyota Corolla) are small passenger cars.

This suggests that the old minivan, and medium and large sedan market, is continuing its strong move towards SUVs. Compared to 12 months ago, October's SUV market grew by 1.2% overall, while small and medium SUVs in particular are winning buyers over, being up by 12.6% and 6.1% respectively compared to the previous month.

Light commercials have jumped by 18.5%. This spike is largely due to the sudden demand for 4x4 cab-chassis models whose sales are up by over 25% in October 2017 compared to the year before.

This is almost identical to the make up of the market back in August, and then when sales declined the month after in September, it largely came out of the light commercial and SUV market. It's looking like the record breaking sales months are coming largely on the back of thriving light commercial and SUV sales, despite small passenger cars consistently finding their way into the top sellers' lists.


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