Bill Day from O'Halloran Motors is weathering a tough automotive market.
Bill Day from O'Halloran Motors is weathering a tough automotive market.

Country car dealers do it tough

CAR dealers in country areas are doing it much tougher than official figures are showing.

Bill Day from O'Halloran Motors in Maclean, said official figures released by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries last week were misleading.

The chamber said almost 635,000 vehicles had been sold in Australia since the beginning of the year - a 10% increase on last year.

But Mr Day said the figures were a result of certain areas enjoying the mining boom.

"In this part of Australia, car sales are very patchy, I think that's the best description," he said.

"Generally, new car sales are down but they're not to the stage where we're wondering where our next meal is coming from.

"Used cars are also patchy but they are almost our bread and butter these days."

Reduced sugar harvests because of rain and large local job losses, all played a part in a tough sales market, Mr Day said.

"The rain doesn't help tourism either when you're trying to sell beaches and sunshine.

"And when you combine the Australian dollar with less than perfect weather during school holidays, then domestic tourism we depend on here has really been under the pump.

"But the motor industry is more than just new car sales; it's service, it's spare parts, it's being across all areas of the industry, and we're obviously doing something right because we've survived in Maclean whereas no other new car dealer has."

In tough times, it was especially important for people to give local traders a go.

"If people are going to shop around for motor vehicles, it's good if they shop around in other towns first and then come home because the last bite of the cherry is always something that's valuable in the motor industry."


National automotive figures

  • Car sales up almost 10%
  • SUV sales up 32%
  • Sales in every state and territory up

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