Tasmania's new vehicle sales industry made a solid start to the financial year, shifting 1528 units in July.
That was 17.7 per cent more than the 1298 sales in July last year, when the state was still reeling from the coronavirus pandemic, movement restrictions and thousands of job losses.
Pre-pandemic July 2019 had 1676 sales.
The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries' latest VFACTs report showed Tasmania's 11,035 sales for the first seven months of 2021 were up by nearly a third from 8291 in the corresponding period last year.
They were just 68 behind sales in that part of 2019.
As usual, SUVs topped the July sales, with 759.
Light commercials accounted for 459 sales, passenger vehicles 257 and heavy commercials 53.
Toyota was by far the most popular marque in July, with 334 sales.
Subaru followed, with 117 sales.
Others to top 100 sales were:
- MG, 109;
- Mazda, 107;
- Ford, 104; and
- Hyundai, 103.
Vehicle rental firms had ramped up their purchases, which almost halted last year when the pandemic struck and borders closed.
They bought 135 new vehicles in July, compared with just 12 in July 2020.
Year to date, they had bought 643, compared with 299 in the first seven months of 2020.
There were 99 sales to government buyers in July, 485 to business (actually down compared with July 2020) and 756 to private buyers.
Meanwhile, electric-powered SUVs are becoming " a thing" in Tasmania.
They had 56 sales year to date, up from six in the corresponding period of 2020.
Electric passenger vehicle sales increased from 15 to 28.
Japan (473) and Thailand (386) were Tasmania's major supplier countries in July.
South Korea (179) and China (163) were the other source countries with more than 100 sales.
China was rising rapidly in the rankings.
Its year to date sales into Tasmania had almost tripled, to 822 units, leaving it fourth behind Japan, Thailand and South Korea and a long was ahead of any other nation.