Car sales perked up in August, despite the ending of some tax assistance at June 30.

In fact, sales bounced back after the natural easing in July in the wake of the end of one of the tax credits for medium business.

The 50% investment allowance for small business (up to $2 million) remains in place until the end of the year and will no doubt spark a big marketing campaign in November and December from the industry to try and clear unsold stocks. That might be enough to push sales back to rough parity with 2008 by the end of the year.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics said today that sales rose 0.3% from July, but were still down almost 7% from August 2008.

But that was better than the 10% fall in the year to July, which indicates confidence continues to improve among car buyers, helped with the tax tickle for small businesses.

Car sales seem to be a bit more resilient than general retail sales, which fell in August. It seems to be the tax deduction (investment allowance) that’s keeping them buoyant.

The ABS said sales rose to 75,388 in August, compared to more than 81,700 a year ago.

The ABS said that seasonally adjusted “sales of two of the three vehicle types increased in August 2009 with July.

“Passenger vehicles increased by 1.0% and other vehicles increased 0.8%. Sports utility vehicles decreased 1.9% over that period. Sales of all three vehicle types have decreased in seasonally adjusted terms when comparing August 2009 to August 2008.

“Other vehicles decreased by 16.5%, passenger vehicles was down 3.8% and sports utility vehicles was down 1.7%.”

Across the states, the ABS said that seasonally adjusted sales increased in six of the states or territories August 2009 compared to July 2009.

“Tasmania recorded the largest percentage increase, rising 12.5%, followed by New South Wales, rising 1.5%. Victoria and the Northern Territory decreased 2.1% and 1.8% respectively over this period.”

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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