Auto sales in Australia last year were the strongest on record, implying that consumers are still prepared to spend on big items while saving on money elsewhere. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, new vehicle sales increased by 2.2% in December to a seasonally adjusted 98,264. December 2012 sales also marked the highest monthly sales total, about 17.9% higher than sales in December 2011.
Sales of sports utility vehicles grew by 5.8% in December to 26,502. This added to the 17% increase that it achieved for the year. Sales of passenger vehicles climbed by 1.2% in December, while sales of other vehicles (which include trucks) grew by 0.2%. According to industry data, new vehicle sales in December 2012 were up 15.7% compared to December 2011.
For December, Toyota stayed on top with 22.2% of the market. Mazda went up to the No. 2 spot with 10.0%, surpassing the Holden unit of General Motors with 9.1%. Hyundai took the No. 4 place with 8.1%, while Ford stepped back one spot with 8.0%. For the entire year of 2012, Toyota was still the leader with 19.6% of the market. Holden was at No. 2 but its share fell by more than two percentage points to 10.3%. Mazda had the third spot, while Ford was knocked down two spots to fifth.