Worst year for new car sales since 2011
Sales of new vehicles have crashed to the lowest in eight years as environmental disasters add to already trying economic conditions, keeping the handbrake firmly on Australians' wallets.
The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries' 2019 sales report shows 1,062,867 new vehicles were sold in the 12 months to December 31 - the lowest total since 2011 - though the decline slowed somewhat in the final month of the year.
December's 3.8 per cent drop in new car sales was an improvement on the 9.8 per cent decline experienced in November, and 9.1 per cent in October, but still reflected what FCAI chief executive Tony Weber said was a "tough year for the Australian economy".
"The challenges (have included) tightening of lending, movements in exchange rates, slow wages growth and, of course, the extreme environmental factors our country is experiencing," Mr Weber said on Monday.
Mr Weber noted a continuing shift in motoring purchases, with a further move to SUV sales which now hold 45.5 per cent of the total market, a 2.5 percentage point increase from 2018.
Continuing the full year comparison, light commercial vehicle share grew by 0.6 percentage points to claim 21.2 per cent of the market, while passenger motor vehicles decreased by 3.1 percentage points to 29.7 per cent.
The Toyota HiLux again claimed the title of number one selling vehicle in 2019 across all categories, with 47,649 sales.
HiLux was followed by the Ford Ranger, again number two in the market with 40,960 sales.
Next was the Toyota Corolla with 30,468 sales, the Hyundai i30 with 28,378 sales, and the Mitsubishi Triton with 25,819 sales.