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After a top year, all eyes to 2014

Posted on: February 15, 2014 by Platinum Direct

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The motor industry is now forecasting only marginal growth in Australian car and truck sales in 2014 as demand levels out just above one million units a year. Certainly, private vehicle sales had a great 2013 with SUVs and utes providing the main growth and, yet again, Toyota came through as the dominant brand right across the board.

The record sales of 1,136,227 vehicles in 2013 was up 2.2 percent over the previous year’s record of 1,112,032 sales. Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) Chief Executive Tony Weber said he was expecting this year’s sales to come in at about 1,145,000 vehicles which is an increase of 8773 units on last year and the third successive year of incredibly high sales.

Mr Weber said the FCAI looked back on 2013 as a strong sales year, even though it had been adversely affected by a number of problems which included proposed fringe benefits tax changes by the previous Labor government, that resulted in a reduction in business fleet sales. He said the reversing of that policy by the new government and a steady economic climate should now mean a small increase in vehicle sales.

Australia has averaged more than one million sales a year over the past decade, including successive record years for the past two.

The one area of decline is clearly identified by VFACTS statistics which show sales to business fleet vehicle sales reduced 5.3 percent in December, and ended the year down 1.1 percent.

The dominant market leader Toyota says sales to companies had not bounced back as expected after the federal election, in which the Coalition promised to reverse the changes put forward by the former Labor government earlier in the year. Worse, government fleet vehicle sales are lagging even further behind, down more than 20 per cent in the 12 months to December 31.

Toyota Australia’s Tony Cramb said it was a mystery to his company why business sales had not picked up once the election was out of the way. He declined to speculate on why governments were buying fewer cars but obviously overall cutbacks are playing a part.

But while fleet sales were languishing, private buyers had a great 2013, taking delivery of more than 8 percent more vehicles and raising the market to record levels. The bottom line is that over half of all vehicles, a total of 583,312 units, were sold to private buyers. And to no one’s surprise, more and more buyers chose increasing numbers of SUVs and utes.

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