9314.0.55.001 - Sales of New Motor Vehicles, Australia, Feb 2005  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 22/03/2005   
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1 This publication presents monthly statistics for new motor vehicle sales.

2 The statistics are based on the VFACTS series produced by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI). VFACTS reports the numbers of new motor vehicle sales by dealers and direct sales by manufacturers throughout Australia. The ABS has been publishing these statistics since the January 2002 reference month. Previous to this, the ABS published New Motor Vehicle Registrations. For further information, refer to the Information Paper: Developments in New Motor Vehicle Statistics (cat. no. 9313.0).

3 From the August 2004 reference month, sports utility vehicles (SUVs) are separately identified in the original, seasonally adjusted and trend estimates. Data on SUVs have been included as a separate category back to January 1994 and are available in Sales of New Motor Vehicles, Electronic Delivery (cat. no. 9314.0.55.001). In previous releases of New Motor Vehicle Sales, SUVs were included in the 'Other vehicles' category.


4 VFACTS data are based on retail sales of new vehicles by all FCAI members. The data are provided electronically to FCAI on a daily basis. The scope of the collection:


  • passenger vehicles
  • four wheel drive vehicles
  • vans
  • trucks
  • buses
  • vehicles with diplomatic and consular plates
  • state/territory and commonwealth owned vehicles
  • vehicles belonging to the defence forces

  • motor cycles
  • plant and equipment
  • unpowered vehicles


5 Seasonally adjusted and trend series are calculated for 'Passenger vehicles', 'Sports utility vehicles', 'Other vehicles' and 'Total vehicles' for each state and territory, and are aggregated to obtain the total for Australia.

6 Seasonal adjustment is a means of removing the estimated effects of normal seasonal variation from the original time series so that the effects of other influences can be more clearly recognised. Seasonally adjusted estimates are derived by estimating and removing systematic calendar related effects, such as seasonal and trading day influences, from the original series. Trading day effects are removed from the original estimates prior to the seasonal adjustment process. Seasonal adjustment does not aim to remove the irregular or non-seasonal influences which may be present in any particular month (e.g. the introduction of new models, industrial disputes). Irregular influences that are highly volatile can make it difficult to interpret the movement of the series even after adjustment for seasonal variation.

7 As a general rule, extreme care should be exercised in using the seasonally adjusted series for new motor vehicle sales in Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory. The small numbers and volatile nature of these data makes reliable estimation of the seasonal pattern very difficult.

8 As happens with all ABS seasonally adjusted series, the seasonal factors are reviewed and revised on a regular basis. The latest revisions to seasonal factors took effect as of January 2005. For further information about corrections such as these, please refer to An Introductory Course in Time Series Analysis - Electronic Delivery (cat. no. 1346.0.55.001). Further advice on revisions will be made in future releases of Sales of New Motor Vehicles, Australia, Electronic Publication (cat. no. 9314.0).

9 The ABS is currently investigating the feasibility of using improved methods to calculate seasonal factors. These investigations are focused on the potential application of Integrated Autoregressive Moving Averages (ARIMA) modelling techniques. The expectation is that these techniques will reduce the extent of the revisions in the seasonally adjusted estimates at the current end of the series. It is expected that ARIMA modelling will be introduced for the New Motor Vehicle Sales series in the March 2005 issue. More detail on the use of ARIMA modelling for seasonal adjustment purposes can be found in the October 2004 issue of Australian Economic Indicators (cat. no. 1350.0).


10 The smoothing of seasonally adjusted series to create trend estimates reduces the impact of the irregular component of the seasonally adjusted series. The trend estimates are derived by applying a 13-term Henderson-weighted moving average to the respective seasonally adjusted series. These trend series are used to analyse the underlying behaviour of the series over time.

11 While this smoothing technique enables trend estimates to be produced for the latest month, it does result in revisions to the trend estimates for the most recent months as data for subsequent months become available. Generally, subsequent revisions become smaller and after three months, usually have a negligible impact on the series. Changes in the original data and re-estimation of seasonal factors may also lead to revisions to the trend. For further information, refer to Information Paper: A Guide to Interpreting Time Series - Monitoring Trends, 2003 (cat. no. 1349.0).

12 From the November 2003 reference month, the way in which seasonally adjusted and trend estimates are calculated was changed from the Forward Factor to the Concurrent method. The Forward Factor method relied on an annual seasonal reanalysis of the original time series estimates to derive seasonal factors that were to be applied in the forthcoming twelve months. Under this method, the projected seasonal factors, or forward factors, were not updated until the next annual seasonal reanalysis. The Concurrent method uses the most up to date original time series estimates available at each reference period to rederive seasonal factor estimates. The Concurrent method eliminates the need to use projected seasonal factors.


13 For a more detailed breakdown of the original monthly figures presented here, inquiries should be made to the Manager, VFACTS, Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries on (03) 9829 1234. Annual data on total vehicle registrations are published in Motor Vehicle Census, Australia (cat. no. 9309.0).