8 January 2007
Australia's new-car market remained strong in 2006 despite sharp
rises in fuel prices and three rises in official interest rates.
Figures just released by the Federal Chamber of Automotive
Industries (FCAI) showed total vehicle sales for 2006 were
approximately 962,720. (We say approximately as that figure may
change very slightly as a computer malfunction at one of the
heavy-truck companies has created hassles for the tally keepers.
Any difference will be in the tens, perhaps even less.)
This is the second highest annual sales result ever, only 2005’s
figure of 988,269 exceeded it, and shows the continued strength of
the Australian car industry as well as the economy as a whole.
Toyota Australia came close to a clean sweep of all the major
awards, with wins in three out of four segments. It managed a
clear overall win, first place in passenger cars and top spot in
Only the coveted ‘top-selling car’ eluded Toyota, with
Holden's Commodore taking out number one spot with 56,531 sales.
Worryingly for Holden that figure was down by over 10,000 compared
with 2005, illustrating an ongoing slide in the large-car market
in this country.
Toyota did achieve second spot overall in car sales; Corolla
sold 46,256 and pushed Ford's Falcon back into third place. Only
42,390 Falcons were sold during 2006, like Holden it suffered a
drop of over 10,000 cars.
This is the first time in its 43-year history in Australia that
Toyota has been number one seller in the passenger car segment.
Its previous strength has always been in dominance in 4WDs and
A convincing 22.2% of the Australian market put Toyota streets
ahead of the others. Holden managed only 15.2% and Ford 11.9%. The
only other local manufacturer, Mitsubishi, continues to languish
in the sales race, its 5.6% of the total market pushing it down to
Importer Mazda retained the fourth place it held in 2005,
scored an impressive 6.6%. Honda just pipped Mitsubishi, getting
into fifth place by selling 27 more vehicles.
The top ten is rounded out by Nissan, Hyundai, Subaru and
Though fuel price rises obviously played a major part in the
huge drop in large car sales of 18.5%, there are obviously still
people with money to spare. Because sales of luxury SUVs increased
by 10.5%. The fact that many big SUVs are offered with a diesel
engine option should be taken into consideration when looking at
these latter percentages, but they still make interesting reading.
The chief executive of the FCAI, Peter Sturrock, is
forecasting, "A steady outlook for 2007, with motor vehicle
sales of 970,000".
Marque Publishing Company