By Tim Dornin, National Motoring Correspondent
ADELAIDE, June 4 AAP - Australia's vehicle industry has
consolidated its place as one of the strengths of the national
economy with sales again at record levels in May.
The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) said today
78,262 new vehicles were retailed last month, a seven per cent
improvement on 73,123 sold in the same month last year.
It was also the best May result on record and the fifth
best-ever performance by the automotive sector this year.
It took demand for the first five months of 2003 to 351,145
units, also seven per cent higher than the 328,185 sold over the
same period in 2002.
FCAI chief executive Peter Sturrock said May confirmed the
belief that vehicle sales were on track for a record year in 2003.
Last month the chamber forecast full year sales to hit 850,000,
well ahead of last year's record result of just over 824,000, as
the industry continued to shrug off any impact from global economic
"Buyers are being lured in record numbers by attractive new
models and intense competition on price which is making new
vehicles increasingly good value for money," Mr Sturrock said.
He said the May result was particularly good news for local car
makers with demand in the large car segment up 12 per cent and in
the medium sector up 22 per cent.
All five cars built in Australia fall into those two categories.
Toyota was the market leder in May with 15,473 vehicles,
narrowly ahead of Holden on 15,343 with Ford further adrift on
Toyota also led on a year-to-date basis with 71,440 compared to
69,410 for Holden.
Holden was one of only two companies in the top 10 in Australia
to suffer a fall in consumer demand so far this year the other
being Hyundai where sales were down a surprising 35 per cent.
Holden sales had slipped a more modest 4.7 per cent but the
company still had Australia's top selling car in May with demand
for the Commodore closing at 7,804 units compared to 6,199 for the
In the medium sector the Toyota Camry sold 2,830 units to
outpace the Mitsubishi Magna/Verada on 1,992.
While in the small car market Toyota also prevailed, the Corolla
leading the way with 2,930 units ahead of the Holden Astra on