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[SYDNEY] Australia boasted another record year of new vehicle sales in 2016 with the market showing a distinct shift in preference to pick up trucks and sport utility vehicles, while all the growth was driven by business demand.
The Australian Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries' Vfacts report out on Thursday showed 1.178 million vehicles were sold last year, 2 per cent higher than in 2015.
"Calendar year 2016 marks the seventh year in a row that the Australian new car market has topped 1 million sales, and this result posts the industry's third record in four years," said FCAI chief executive, Tony Weber.
Light commercial vehicles took 18.5 per cent of the market in 2016, up from 17.2 per cent the year before, a bullish sign for business investment.
Indeed, sales to businesses increased by 13 per cent over the year, while rental sales rose 6 per cent. In contrast, private sales fell by 5.8 per cent and government sales by 1.4 per cent.
Mr Weber noted Toyota's Hilux topped the sales charts over the year, the first time a pickup truck won that honour.
For December alone, sales amounted to 98,763 vehicles a dip of 0.9 per cent on Dec 2015. Sales of light commercial vehicles jumped 8.5 per cent compared to Dec 2015, while passenger vehicles and SUVs slipped.
Toyota Motor Corp retained first place on the sales ladder for both December and the year. It took 17.8 per cent for 2016, unchanged from the previous year.
Mazda Motor Corp held second spot for the year with 10 per cent of the market, pipping Hyundai Motor Co 005380.KS at 8.6 per cent.
The Holden unit of General Motors saw its share slip almost a full percentage point to 8 per cent, while Ford held 6.9 per cent of the market.