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Australian car industry steps up another gear.

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Media Release The Hon Ian Macfarlane MP Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources

4 July 2002 02/125


Australians longing to escape to the sunburnt outback and tackle rugged mountain ranges have driven a further 7.1 per cent improvement in vehicle sales for the month of June.

Minister for Industry, Ian Macfarlane, welcomed the figures showing that the industry recorded its third best financial year on record in 2001-02 with total sales of 804,571 vehicles. Monthly sales have also increased again - boosted by a 19.3 per cent jump in the light truck or utility market.

"Many of them might never taste the black dust around Brookstead but there’s a quiet country revolution re-shaping city driving images. This sector includes the Holden and Ford utes but 60 per cent of the growth is attributed to sales of all terrain wagons - a vehicle equally equipped for navigation about the mulga or crowded Sydney carparks," said Mr Macfarlane.

Over the last financial year there were an extra 21,215 vehicles sold in this category. That result reflects figures compiled by Ford Australia that show sales in rural areas improved 12.6% in the first four months of 2002 while metro sales increased at half that rate, 6.2%.

"The car industry has been cashing in on country confidence. Ford reports that rural sales for the first third of 2002 totalled 73,269 compared with 65,096 last year. Certainly Ford and Holden are well positioned to make the most of this trend with the unveiling of their new "city-slick" 4WD vehicles in 2004," he said.

Meantime the medium-sized car segment reported an 11.7% increase in sales, led by the four cylinder Toyota Camry. This is a particularly encouraging sign as Toyota is ready to roll its next generation Camry off the assembly line in September.

"I’ve had a sneak preview of the new 2.4 litre Camry and it is a particularly sophisticated model with a shape that will surprise many potential buyers who perhaps haven’t considered a sedan before," said Mr Macfarlane.

Those who prefer sports cars, like the Holden Monaro, also made their buying power felt over the last 12 months. Sales in the sports cars sector jumped by 75.9%. The positive all-round results have prompted the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries to revise its total vehicle sales forecast for 2002, increasing it by an extra 10,000 to a total of 810,000 vehicles.

Media Contact: Kirsty Boazman, Minister Macfarlane's office, 02 6277 7580 or 0412 171 444