Hinterland Toyota dealer principal Tony Stark with new cars from Japan.
Hinterland Toyota dealer principal Tony Stark with new cars from Japan.

New car sales accelerating

THE economic outlook is showing signs of life fed by a major surge in motor vehicle sales.

And the principal of a Burleigh car dealership expects the lift in business activity to continue.

The boost of 7.3% in Australia's car sales in August from the same period last year points to Japan's recovery from the natural disasters that struck the car exporter in March, according to Hinterland Toyota dealer principal Tony Stark.

He said Australia's supply of cars from Japan was cut after the country was struck by earthquakes.

"There have been some major supply issues in the last six months," Mr Stark said.

"We had quite a supply shortage from March.

"Now that supply has returned."

According to the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, Queensland led the charge with an increase in new vehicle sales of 14.6% followed by Tasmania with 12.4% and NSW 7.9%.

Despite the recovery of Japan's automotive exports it has not return to pre-earthquake levels.

The number of cars arriving for the largest exporter to Australia was down about 10% in 2011 compared to the same period in 2010.

The number of vehicles imported from Japan increased by 11.8% in August compared to the same period in 2010.

Australia imported 240,680 vehicles from Japan to August in 2010. In 2011 the number of vehicles imported was down to 216,038.

"The supply was definitely an issue leading into August but that was only one of a few factors that contributed to the turnaround," Mr Stark said.

"There has been a number of new models and limited editions to hit the market.

"People have to change cars over eventually."

Mr Stark said he believed the upward trend would continue for the rest of the year.

"We are hoping the last quarter will be a strong quarter," he said.

"The trading is still as competitive as it has ever been but it's the supply that has freed up a bit."

Toyota was the best selling brand in August selling 15,885 vehicles for an 18% market share, followed by Holden with 11,534 (13.1%) and Mazda with 9138 sales (10.4%).