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VFACTS: Car sales up in March but still down on 2018


Cars in traffic Image: Getty Images

Almost 100,000 new vehicles were sold across the month, but sales remain slow in 2019.

March is the best-performing month for new vehicle sales in 2019, but figures are still down on last year's levels, according to the latest VFACTS report released by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries today.

A total of 99,442 new vehicles were sold over the month, a decrease of 7.1% compared to March 2018, and a continuation of 2019's sluggish start. Total sales for the year are now 268,538, down 7.9% on the same period in 2018.

Tony Weber, CEO of the FCAI, believes the slow sales so far this year are a result of the wider economic atmosphere. "We are seeing a cautious consumer approach at the moment, and this is not surprising given the number of economic headwinds in the Australian market," he said.

Light commercial stays steady

It's unlikely to come as a surprise to anyone who's been following Australian vehicle sales, but the SUV classes continue to dominate the market. Monthly SUV sales hit 45,660, which is 45.9% of total sales and a clear record for the year so far.

Light commercial vehicles also had a strong showing, with 21,488 monthly sales, but passenger vehicles are still struggling. Total passenger vehicle sales are at 84,200 for the year to date, down a staggering 17.8% compared to the same period in 2018. Only light commercial vehicles have kept pace with last year's sales figures, down 0.4% on 2018 levels, with SUVs down 3.5%.

High times for the HiLux

The Toyota HiLux makes it another month as Australia's most popular new vehicle, with 4,527 sales across the month. This marks a 4.1% increase on March 2018 sales, a rare feat in 2019's current car sale climate. The Ford Ranger maintains its place as bridesmaid, with 3,721 sales, a decrease of 8.4% on the same period last year.

Toyota has three models in the top ten for monthly sales, with the Toyota Corolla and Toyota Landcruiser joining the HiLux in the total sales charts. Mitsubishi also managed three models, with the Mitsubishi Triton third behind the HiLux and Ranger, and the Mitsubishi ASX and Mitsubishi Outlander rounding out the top ten.

South Australia comes out strong

While monthly sales were down for most states and territories compared to March 2018, South Australia recorded an impressive 9.4% increase on last year's figures. Tasmania was the only other to come out ahead, with total March sales up 6.2% compared to 2018.

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Picture: Getty Images

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