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Good start for new car sales early in 2015

Article PhotoThe last few months of 2014 showed real promise for the Australian new car industry and according to statistics from the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), the trend has continued into this year.

January is a notoriously slow month for sales.

However, based on FCAI figures, Australian's bought 82,116 new passenger cars, SUVs and commercial vehicles in January 2015. This was 169 (0.2 per cent) units off January 2014 and 14,693 units (15.2 per cent) behind December 2014 (one the strongest months of the calendar year).

This is a positive start for the Australian new car industry and hopes are that it is an indicator of a strong year.

SUV sales

SUV sales continue to grow. Total SUV sales improved 6.9 per cent over January 2014 number. The real area of promise is small SUVs, which grew 17.9 per cent, while medium SUV sales rose 9.5 per cent.

FCAI Chief Executive Tony Weber described how big this segment of the market is getting.

"The continuing popularity of SUVs is a reflection of the versatility of these vehicles. SUVs now represent 33.7 per cent of the market and we expect this trend to continue as we move through 2015," he said in a February statement.

State by state

While there isn't a lot to take out of the new car saleson a state to state basis, it does indicate how the economies of each state are performing.

Tasmania and Victoria's new car markets got off to a perfect start, with both recording good growth (6.6 per cent and 4.3 per cent respectively). These were the only two states to record positive trends, with New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia all seeing sales drop by less than 1 per cent on January 2014.

However, there will be concerns in the Australian Capital Territory (-6.9 per cent), Western Australia (-7 per cent) and the Northern Territory (-7.2 per cent) where there was a significant drop in sales from 12 months ago.

Top model and brand

It might come as a surprise to some to read that for the first time in two years, the Toyota Corolla has been knocked off its perch. Dominant for many months last year and 2014's top selling vehicle, the Corolla (3,472 units) was pipped by the Mazda3 (3,903).

The remaining vehicles in the top five sellers for January included the Toyota Hilux (2,331), Hyundai i30 (2,092) and Holden Cruze (1,870).

With these numbers in mind, Toyota was actually the top selling brand in January 2014. Capturing 16.6 per cent of the market with its extensive range. Toyota placed in front of Mazda (11 per cent), Holden (10.2 per cent), Hyundai (8.4 per cent) and Ford (6.5 per cent).

If these numbers are anything to go by, Toyota and Mazda will be the brands to beat in 2015. As the trend towards smaller cars continues, those two manufacturers are also well placed given their Corolla and Mazda3 product ranges.

CTP Green Slip

When you purchase a new vehicle you do so on a drive-away basis. That is the dealer supplies the vehicle registered and ready to go. This does not mean that you have to accept the green slip insurer preferred by the dealer. You are still entitled to use the CTP green slip provider of your choice. Make sure you dicuss this with your dealer.