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Tuesday, 15 September 2015

New motor sales looking peaky

New motor sales peak out

When folk comment on cost or quality of living indices it is easy for them to overlook that many consumables cost less in real terms than they once did for a better quality of product (e.g. tech deflation).

New motor vehicles often fit into this category, which has helped send unit sales close to new highs through this cycle, but the latest data released today suggested that the peak may now be in.

Total new sales of 94,332 in August in a seasonally adjusted terms were some way below the 97,456 we saw in June, and the trend has ticked down accordingly from its most recent peak in June.

On a rolling annual basis the 1.14m units sold over the past year have failed to surpass the levels seen in 2013 when low interest rates were first seriously beginning to bite.

Sport utilities reign

The figures suggest that it is now only a matter of time before the "SUV" become the main vehicle type of choice for Aussies with yet another record month of sales recorded in August.

State versus state

The strength in new motor vehicle sales over the past year has been driven by increased sales volumes in New South Wales (370,000 units) and Queensland (231,000 units), but this is increasingly being offset by declines elsewhere. 

The year-on-year trend figures show that there have been solid increases in new motor vehicle sales in NSW (+7.3 per cent) and Queensland (+5.8 per cent), while in percentage terms there has been a significant uplift in Tasmania (+15.9 per cent), although sales totalled fewer than 19,000 units in that state.

However, there has been significant year-on-year weakness in Western Australia (-10.3 per cent) and South Australia (-8.1 per cent) in trend terms.

Nationally, the peak looks to be in.