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VFACTS: Vehicle sales stutter in new year


January sales are down 7.4% from this time last year.

Car sales are off to a slow start in 2019, with total sales reaching 81,994 in January, according to the latest VFACTS report released today.

While overall sales were down, it was another strong month for SUV sales, which look to have carried over their momentum from 2018. SUV sales accounted for 43.8% of total monthly sales, but even this was a decrease from 2018, with SUV sales down 5.1% compared to January 2018. Passenger vehicle sales dropped 12% compared to the same period, with heavy commercial vehicles the only class to come out ahead, up 8.3% on this time last year.

Toyota still dominant

Toyota remains the market leader, as it did for all of 2018, accounting for 19.5% of vehicle sales across the month, with Mazda taking an 11.6% share, and Mitsubishi in third with 8.1%. The Toyota Hi-Lux also reasserted its place at the top of the sales chart, with 3,951 sales over the month, an increase of 2.4% compared to January 2018.

Trailing the Hi-Lux was the Mazda 3, Ford Ranger and Toyota Corolla, but all three had double-digit drops in sales compared to the first month of 2018. The biggest gainer was the Mitsubishi ASX, which saw an impressive 108.5% increase in year-on-year sales, up from 872 sales to 1,818 – which was enough for seventh place on the top-selling models chart.

Northern Territory comes out ahead

NSW and Victoria accounted for 61.6% of national sales, but both had identical drops of 8.1% compared to January last year, with the Northern Territory the only state or territory to record positive growth over the same period, up 3.7%. Elsewhere, ACT sales dropped 16.8%, with Tasmania also down 7.5%.

Tony Weber, CEO of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, believes the sales figures are due to a number of factors in the wider economy. "The current economic environment is a challenging one, with an imminent federal election, a declining real estate market and tighter lending practices," he said.

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Picture: Shutterstock

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