Supply constraints held June motor vehicle sales down to their lowest level in eight years, according to figures released today by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI).

Official VFACTS data reveals that 96,157 new vehicles were sold in June, 11.6 per cent fewer than last year’s all-time record (108,722) for the same month.

“It is clear that sales in the past month were again affected by supply constraints resulting from the Japanese earthquake and tsunami,” FCAI chief executive Andrew McKellar said.

“Manufacturers and distributors affected by the Japanese natural disaster are reporting a reliable return of supply,” he said.

“We would expect the effect to dissipate over coming months.”

Despite the constraints of recent months, 496,236 new vehicles were sold in the first half of the year, providing a fiscal year total of 1,000,642 vehicles – the fourth time the one million vehicle sales barrier has been broken in a financial year.

“Depending on the extent of the rebound in supply, we remain hopeful that total sales of more than a million vehicles are still achievable for the full year in 2011,” he said.

Mr McKellar said the impact of the recent hike in FBT on cars, announced in this year’s Federal Budget, could have a negative effect on recovery.

“Consumer demand has softened and we do have concerns that sales could be hampered as the FBT changes begin to influence demand patterns,” he said.

Locally manufactured sales outperformed the market in general in June, recording 2.2 per cent growth compared with the same period last year.

The increase is attributed to the recent commencement of sales of locally manufactured Holden Cruze.

Holden claimed market leadership for the second month in a row in June with 12,827 deliveries, ahead of Toyota with 12,514 sales and Ford with 9,216.

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