SYDNEY, June 5 (Reuters) - Sales of new vehicles in Australia were up a hefty 24.1 percent in May, compared to the same month last year when sales had been temporarily hit by supply disruptions from Japan's tsunami.
The Australian Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries said total vehicle sales in May were 96,069, compared to 77,401 in the same month of 2011.
Sales in May were up 21.5 percent on April, which is typically a soft selling month. Adjusted for seasonal factors, VFACTS estimated sales dipped by 1.1 percent in May from the previous month.
Sales of sport utility vehicles continued their meteoric run with a rise of 56.6 percent, compared to a year earlier, while gains in light and heavy trucks pointed to solid business investment.
The strength of vehicle sales sits at odds with softness in the retail sector and suggests consumers are still confident enough to splash out on big ticket items.
For May alone, Toyota retained first place in the sales ladder with 21.3 percent of the market. The Holden unit of General Motors advanced to second spot with 9.4 percent, while Mazda dropped back to third with 8.7 percent.
Ford followed with 8.1 percent, ahead of Nissan at 7.3 percent and Hyundai at 7.2 percent.
Details of the VFACTS report in original terms:
May Apr m/m pct May/11 y/y pct
Sales 96,069 79,097 +21.5 77,401 +24.1
Sales by Type: May '12/May '11 Volumes
Change Pct Change
Passenger Vehicles +5,908 +13.9
Sports Utility +9,705 +56.6
Light Truck +3,006 +19.8
Heavy Commercial +49 +1.9 (Reporting by Wayne Cole)