Cars sales on track for record year

Corolla was the best seller for September with 3443 sales.

The car industry remains on track for a record year of new-car sales despite a slight softening of the market in September in the wake of the federal election.

The Coalition's changes to industry policy, including the reversing of Labor's adjustments to the fringe benefits tax (FBT), have been cited as a key factor for a surge in buyer confidence. In a dose of good news for local manufacturing, Ford has announced it will return to full production of its Falcon and Territory variants on the back of a strong month.

According to industry figures released on Thursday, Australians purchased 92,622 vehicles for the month of September, bringing year-to-date sales to almost 850,000 - a 3.3 per cent increase on a record 2012 calendar year.

While the monthly result represents a 3.9 per cent decrease on September 2012, industry officials remain bullish about the prospect of a record year of sales given the election turnaround. Vehicle sales traditionally slow in the lead-up to an election.

"The announcement by the Coalition to return to pre-July FBT arrangements has been welcomed by the industry. We anticipate the market effect of this announcement will see positive growth throughout the rest of the year," Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries chief Tony Weber said.

The Toyota Corolla was the best seller for September with 3443 sales, edging out the Toyota Hilux (3341) and Mazda3 (3052). The new VF Holden Commodore finished fourth with 2869 sales - its best performance of the year.

Jeep continued its sales renaissance outside the top sellers, led by strong sales of its Grand Cherokee (1402).

The Ford Falcon enjoyed a significant turnaround in sales, recording 846 sales for September, up from its lowest-ever result of 573 for August, and the Ford Territory rose to 1130.

Spokeswoman Sinead Phipps said the result meant Ford would not schedule any more down days at its Broadmeadows plant.

The biggest year-to-date increases in demand were in the SUV segment (up 8.9 per cent), light commercials (up 5.2 per cent) and sports cars (up 20.6 per cent).

Toyota was the top-selling marque for September with 17,492 sales, ahead of Holden (9614 sales), Mazda (7615), Hyundai (8803) and Ford (7505).

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