New car sales hit a record high as buyers rush to beat the Clear Car Discount
New car sales hit a record high last month as buyers rushed to beat the introduction of the Clear Car Discount.
Figures from the Motor Industry Association (MIA) show 21,044 cars were sold in March, which beat the previous record in October 2018 by 4,374 vehicles.
Sales were nearly 36 percent higher than the same month a year ago.
MIA chief executive David Crawford said as anticipated the lead up to Clean Car Discount, which would see fees placed on high-emitting vehicles from 1 April, resulted in the strongest month ever for vehicle sales.
"Sales were dominated by the largest ever monthly registrations for light commercial vehicles, 9,841 units (including heavy commercial vehicles) as buyers rushed to avoid fees for high CO2 emitting vehicles that began on 1 April."
The Clean Car Discount came into operation last July and initially applied to new and used imported electric and plug-in hybrid cars, as part of a suite of measures to help decarbonise the country's transport fleet.
From 1 April, the Clean Car Discount was based on carbon dioxide emissions, meaning low emitting vehicles would be eligible for a rebate, while high emitters would be slapped with a fee.
Fully electric new vehicles would be $7500 cheaper, while high emitting cars would cost up to $4500 extra.
The top three vehicles sold last month were all utes lead by the Mitsubishi Triton, Ford Ranger and Toyota Hilux.
These vehicles accounted for more than a quarter of all cars sold in March (5,779 sold).
In fourth place, and the number one selling passenger car last month, was the fully electric Tesla Model 3 (949).
Crawford said the sale of petrol hybrid vehicles was soft in March with some buyers waiting until April to take advantage of the rebate these vehicles would now receive.
A total of 2,704 fossil fuel alternative vehicles (pure electric, petrol hybrids, and hybrids) were sold last month.