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The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), the peak body for the automotive industry in Australia, has released the new vehicle sales figures for the first month of calendar year 2021.

A total of 79,666 vehicles were sold in January 2021, across the period, up 11.1 per cent on January 2020 sales when 71,731 vehicles were sold. This positive result was reflected across every state and territory with sales increases ranging between 38.7 per cent (Northern Territory) and 1.9 per cent (Victoria) compared to January 2020.

This January 2021 result follows the strong recovery indicated by the overall sales figures for the final months of 2020, and to some extent reflects the built-up demand over the COVID lockdown.

FCAI chief executive, Tony Weber, said the January result was a very positive sign for the industry. He noted: “During the past three months sales had increased by 12.4 per cent compared to the corresponding period twelve months earlier. The January sales numbers are indicative of positive consumer confidence in the domestic economy. With attractive interest rates and a range of other economic indicators encouraging consumption, we hope to see this trend in new vehicle purchasing continue through 2021,” Mr Weber said.

The sales growth in January 2021 compared to January 2020 was due to increased demand from private buyers, with sales up 25.4% in that category. Sales to business buyers was down 1.3 percent, with sales to Government and Rental also falling by 11.2 per cent and 12.4 per cent respectively.

Sales of passenger vehicles were down 9.3 per cent on January 2020, while sales of SUVs were up 17.4 per cent and sales of light commercial vehicles were up 24.6 per cent.

Toyota was the leading brand in January with sales of 16,819 vehicles (21.1 per cent of the market), followed by Mazda with 8,508 (10.7 per cent), Hyundai with 5,951 (7.5 per cent), Kia with 5,500 (6.9 per cent) and Mitsubishi with 5,179 (6.5 per cent).

The Toyota Hilux was the best-selling vehicle in January 2021 with sales of 3,913 vehicles, followed by the Ford Ranger (3,120), the Toyota RAV4 (3,066), the Toyota Landcruiser (2,388) and the Mazda CX5 (2,081).