Thursday, January 5, 2012

Tsunami and flood make disastrous year for car sales

NATURAL disasters took the wind out of last year's vehicle market and robbed it of a potential record after tens of thousands of sales were lost, the industry said yesterday.

Australia broke the million mark for only the fourth time last year -- with 1,008,437 vehicles sold -- but the total was 2.6 per cent down on 2010 and more than 40,000 below forecast.

The earthquake and tsunami in Japan and floods in Thailand combined to choke supply while devastated communities from Queensland to Western Australia put a lid on demand, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries said, in what was an unprecedented year of "uncertainty and instability".