SYDNEY, March 15 Australian sales of new
vehicles fell sharply in February to end two months of gains, a
worrying sign for the health of consumer spending in the first
quarter of the year.
Wednesday's data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics
showed sales dropped 2.7 percent in February from January, when
they increased by 0.5 percent. Sales of 94,786 vehicles were
down 4.1 percent on February last year.
Sales of sports utilities slipped 3.1 percent in the month,
after a jump of 7 percent in January, while passenger vehicles
fell 4.3 percent. Sales of other vehicles including trucks rose
1.5 percent, compared to January.
(Reporting by Wayne Cole; Editing by Randy Fabi)