Car sales bounce again (or do they?)

ABS new cars ales are out for August and show a 3.3% jump yoy:

TOTAL NEW MOTOR VEHICLE SALES

  • The August 2011 trend estimate (83 720) has increased by 1.3% when compared with July 2011.
  • Seasonally Adjusted – The August 2011 seasonally adjusted estimate for new motor vehicle sales (87 935) increased by 3.3% when compared with July 2011.

SALES BY TYPE OF VEHICLE

  • Trend – When comparing national trend estimates for August 2011 with July 2011, sales of Passenger, Sports utility and Other vehicles increased by 0.6%, 3.9% and 0.2% respectively.
  • Seasonally Adjusted – When comparing seasonally adjusted estimates for August 2011 with July 2011, sales of Passenger, Sports utility and Other vehicles increased by 1.2%, 10.1% and 0.8% respectively.

SALES BY STATE

  • Seven of the eight states and territories have experienced an increase in the trend estimate for new motor vehicle sales when comparing August 2011 with July 2011. South Australia recorded the largest percentage increase (2.3%), followed by Tasmania (2.2%) and Victoria (1.7%). Over the same period the Northern Territory remained steady with 797 sales for the second consecutive month.
  • In seasonally adjusted terms, sales of new motor vehicles increased in five of the eight states and territories when comparing August 2011 with July 2011. Tasmania recorded the largest percentage increase of 7.6%, followed by New South Wales (4.1%) and Victoria (3.5%). Over the same period the Australian Capital Territory recorded the largest percentage decrease of 4.1%.

That’s a pretty reasonable bounce and the data is strong across the major states:

Here is a longer term chart of sales:

As you can see, after a big dip earlier this year, sales have returned to something like former levels. This is no doubt the tsunami effects on Toyota and perhaps the floods too.

We certainly aren’t growing much in trend terms, indeed the long term still looks down, but neither are we falling off a cliff. Like so many sectors of the old economy, car sales appear to be in some kind of slow melt.

Update

Rumplestatskin has just provided me with the following per capita new car sales chart and you can that the decline in consumer’s willingness to buy a large consumption item has declined quite markedly since late 2007 and is currently around 2003 levels. The trend is being offset (disguised) by high population growth:

Comments

  1. Be interesting to see that last chart adjusted per capita – it appears that nominal car sales are back to 2007 levels or am I reading the chart wrong?

    Rumplestat?

    • I only have quarterly population stats (therefore no July and August figure) but we are travelling pretty poorly. The June quarter was the lowest since pre-1994 except for the GST introduction (June 2000) and the GFC (Dec 2008).

      No doubt the MSM will jump on this small uptick without considering the big picture.

    • heh, “people ponzi” about sums up the ex Bracks / Brumby Government scam about how wonderful the Vic economy was doing.

      Keep pumping in the people and the economy looks great until it starts getting creaky.

      Criminals – I feel half of the ex Labor Vic State Government should be in court (if not prison) for what they have done to the taxpayers of this state.

  2. The proportion of australian cars being sold is also heading down, so it’s a double whammy for the australian car industry. It’s time we gave up on it really, if it can’t survive after all these years and all the subsidies, then it’s time we let it die and got on with something that we are good at.

  3. Cameron, could new passenger vehicles be even a little softer than the chart shows since the mining industry buys fleets of what are eesentially passenger vehicles (thousands of work utes)? Or does the ABS account for this by noting that they were company purchases?

    • I think utes & similar vehicles have to be registered as a commercial vehicle regardless, but I could be wrong. It may vary from state to state as well.

  4. I work for a major vehicle manufacturer and I can 100% confirm that the mining boom is propping up sales. Light commercial vehicles are counted as passenger vehicles and is by far and away the main driver of any growth in the market at the moment.

    Also, another point of interest. It appears that Commodire will lose it’s #1 seller crown this year which it has held for 13 straight years…