SYDNEY, Sept 17 (Reuters) - Sales of new motor vehicles in Australia jumped by the most in five months in August to reach their highest on record, a sign consumers have the confidence to splash out on big ticket items.
Government figures out on Monday showed new vehicle sales rose by a seasonally adjusted 3.6 percent in August to 93,379, following a revised 1.1 percent decline in July. Sales were up 6.4 percent compared to August last year.
Sales of sports utility vehicles extended their meteoric run with an increase of 4.3 percent to a fresh all-time high of 26,452. Sales of passenger vehicles rose 4.7 percent, while sales of other vehicles, including trucks, edged up 0.4 percent after a very strong result in July.
The robust vehicle numbers contrast with softness seen in retail sales for July and suggest consumer spending is not as weak as some fear.
Industry data out earlier in the month showed Toyota retained first place in the sales ladder with 19.2 percent of the market in August.
The Holden unit of General Motors held second spot with 12.0 percent. Hyundai and Ford tied with 8.3 percent, while Mazda took 8.2 percent.