It wasn’t so long ago the new car industry was struggling in the face of falling sales.

Month after month the FCAI’s Tony Weber was forced to front the media and report another month of doom and gloom for the industry.

It was hit hard, first by the credit squeeze, then by the COVID pandemic which left showrooms deserted and dealers wondering what to do next.

Last year a total of 916,968 vehicles were sold in Australia, down 13.7 per cent on 2019 when 1,062,867 vehicles were sold.

The figures FCAI said were not unexpected and attributed the decline to the financial impact of the pandemic.

But there were positive signs after a 13.5 per cent turnaround in December.

FCAI represents companies that distribute new passenger vehicles, light commercial vehicles, motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles in Australia.

With 68 brands offering 380 models, sold and serviced by almost 4000 dealers, Australia’s automotive sector is a large employer and contributor to the economy, lifestyle and communities big and small.

Mr Weber said the demand for new vehicles for business and private use remains strong with a 2021 record number of 100,809 new vehicle sales being recorded in May.

The result this month eclipses the March result of 100,005 and he said the industry is on track to return to sales of more than 1 million new vehicles for the year. 

It shows an increase of 68.3 per cent on the corresponding month last year which was significantly impacted through COVID-19 lockdowns across the country.  

However, the 2021 result is an 8.9 [er cent increase on the May 2019 result of 92,561 vehicles.

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FCAI Chief Executive Tony Weber

Mr Weber said the result once again showed that confidence in the national economy and pent-up demand across all sectors were strong enough to counter issues related to COVID-19 uncertainties and supply chain issues.

“While we cannot be certain about the future economic impacts of the COVID-19 situation, businesses and households are showing their confidence by purchasing new vehicles,” he said.

“I expect this situation will continue to improve in the second half of this calendar year as confidence continues to grow, coupled with incentives such as the extension of the depreciation allowance for business which was announced in the Federal Budget during the month.”

Mr Weber added that the rental segment continued to grow with the year to date result up 69.4 per cent while private sales were up 50.3 per cent year to date.

“The result also highlights the outstanding efforts by all parties in the supply chain in continuing to meet the demands of their of their customers in the face of ongoing challenges such as the shortage of microprocessors and shipping delays,” he said.

Toyota was the market leader in May recording sales of 21,156 vehicles.  

It was followed by Mazda (10,554), Kia (7124), Ford (6493) and Mitsubishi (6478).  

Toyota Hi-Lux was the highest selling vehicle (4402) followed by the Ford Ranger (4254), Toyota RAV4 (4014), Toyota Land Cruiser (3399) and the Isuzu Ute D-Max 3058).

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Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for almost 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.
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