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Steady car sales continue in October

Article PhotoAfter a sluggish beginning to 2014, new car sales have been steady for the majority of the year. This has lead some experts to suggest that Australia is going to hit the 1.1 million figure for the third year in a row.

This would be quite an achievement for the automotive industry, given the difficult market conditions and waning consumer confidence.

October figures

Similar to most months this year, October 2014 failed to reach the target set in the previous year - down 1.5 per cent. There were 91,236 new vehicle purchases with small SUV sales making up 22.6 per cent of all sales last month.

Passenger car sales decreased 8.1 per cent and light commercial sales also dropped 1.9 per cent compared to October 2013 figures.

Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) Chief Executive Tony Weber explained that small passenger vehicles are becoming the choice for many consumers as they look for fuel efficient and cheaper options.

"Small passenger cars hold the largest market share for both October and year to date sales. They accounted for 22.6 per cent of sales last month and 22.7 per cent of sales between January and October 2014," he said.

"Small passenger cars are followed by medium SUVs, large SUVs and 4x4 light commercial vehicles, all holding around 11 to 12 per cent of the total market so far this year."

However, business purchases didn't offer the same degree of optimism. New cars in this sector are down 2 per cent for the month and more concerning, 7.1 per cent for the year. Mr Weber indicated that low business confidence means fewer firms are investing in vehicles in the current economic climate.

State by State

Just one state could boast positive new car figures in October, with New South Wales showing strong growth ( 4.6 per cent). All other states were down, including a low -14.3 per cent in Tasmania.

Western Australia (-7.5 per cent), Queensland (-5.9 per cent), Australian Capital Territory (-4.7 per cent), Northern Territory (-3.2 per cent) and Victoria (-1.5 per cent), also posted disappointing numbers. It is unclear why NSW has grown, but for Australia to pick up its overall new sales figures, all states should be recording positive figures.

Most popular vehicle

This category gives consumers and the automotive market a unique insight into which vehicles are popular across the country. This year, there have been few surprises with the same models featuring nearly every month.

With 3,819 purchases, the Toyota Corolla is again the front runner. It was followed by the Toyota Hilux (3,228), the Mazda 3 (2,928), the Hyundai i30 (2,475) and the Ford Ranger (2,405), rounding out the top five.

It is interesting to note that FCAI figures have the Toyota Corolla (36,925) and the Mazda 3 (36,011) separated by just 914 purchases over the entire year. As there are only two months left in the year, this will be a close race.

Market share

The above figures are also illustrated in the total market share for each manufacturer. Toyota (19.1 per cent) holds a commanding 9.9 per cent lead over Hyundai (9.2 per cent). Holden scores third place with 8.3 per cent followed by Mazda (7.5 per cent) and Ford (6.9 per cent) making up the top five.