Australia New Car Sales Up in August image

Auto sales in Australia reached in August the highest record over the past five months, a sign that consumers have regained their confidence to buy big ticket items.

Last month auto sales were up 3.6% to 93,379 units, an increase from 1.1% decline in July, but down compared with a 6.4% raise in August 2011. Sports utility vehicles saw an increase of 4.3% to 26,452 units, passenger vehicles were up 4.7% and sales of trucks and other vehicles edged up 0.4%.

Although these figures show a continuous growth, Westpac senior economist Matthew Hassan said that the auto industry situation isn’t as rosy as it seems. Even if auto sales have increased, customers are buying fewer new cars than they did before the global financial crisis.

“We really haven’t kept up with population growth. On my reckoning we’re still about 15 per cent below where we were in terms of vehicle sales per capita,” he said.

He also added that sales last year were affected by the Japanese tsunami and the Queensland floods, which made sales seem stronger this year. According to industry statistics released this month, the Toyota Hilux was the best-sold vehicle in August with 4,010 units, followed by Mazda 3 with 2,990 units and Toyota Corolla with 2,945 units.