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Sales of New Motor Vehicles, Australia methodology

Reference period
December 2017
Released
16/01/2018
Next release Unknown
First release

Explanatory notes

Introduction

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. Prior 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).

Scope and coverage

3 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:

  • includes:
    • 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
  • excludes:
    • motorcycles
    • plant and equipment
    • unpowered vehicles
       

Data revision

4 The information provided to the ABS and included in the estimates for any month may be revised or corrected in later months. This can occur as a result of corrections made by a provider. Where corrections are made to original data they will be identified by the annotation (r) revised.

Seasonal adjustment

5 Seasonally adjusted and trend estimates are produced for 'Passenger vehicles', 'Sports utility vehicles' and 'Other vehicles' for each state and territory. These are then aggregated to obtain 'Total vehicles' for each state and territory, as well as the total for Australia.

6 Seasonal adjustment is a means of removing the estimated effects of normal seasonal variation from the original time series estimates. This is done in order to reveal the underlying non-seasonal features of the series. Seasonally adjusted estimates are derived by estimating and removing systematic calendar related effects only, such as seasonal and trading day influences, from the original estimates. Seasonal adjustment does not aim to remove the irregular or non-seasonal influences from the original series, such as the impact of the introduction of new models or industrial disputes.

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 adjustment factors are reviewed and revised on a regular basis, taking into account the latest information in relation to features in the time series. For further information about seasonal adjustment, please refer to Time Series Analysis Frequently Asked Questions (cat. no. 1346.0.55.002). Further advice on seasonal adjustment factor revisions will be made in future releases of this publication.

9 The seasonally adjusted estimates in this publication have been produced using a concurrent methodology whereby the seasonal factors are revised each month to take into account the seasonality exhibited by the latest observation. A more detailed review is conducted periodically.

10 The revision properties of the seasonally adjusted and trend estimates have been improved by the use of autoregressive integrated moving average (ARIMA) modelling. ARIMA modelling relies on the characteristics of the series being analysed to project future period data. The ARIMA model is assessed as part of the periodic quality review. For more information on the details of ARIMA modelling see feature article: Use of ARIMA modelling to reduce revisions in the October 2004 issue of Australian Economic Indicators (cat. no. 1350.0)

11 For information on interpreting time series, refer to Information Paper: Interpreting Time Series - Are you being misled by the Seasons (cat no. 1346.0.55.003).

Trend estimates

12 In highly volatile time series, fluctuations that are neither systematic nor predictable can make it difficult to interpret the underlying movement of the series even after adjustment for seasonal variation. The smoothing of seasonally adjusted estimates to produce trend estimates reduces the impact of the volatile component of the seasonally adjusted series. Trend estimates are derived by applying a 13-term Henderson-weighted moving average to the respective seasonally adjusted estimates. These trend estimates are used to analyse the underlying behaviour of the series over time.

13 This smoothing technique enables trend estimates to be produced for the latest month. However, as data for subsequent months become available, the trend estimates for the most recent months are revised. Generally, subsequent revisions become smaller and after three months usually have a negligible impact on the series. Changes in the original data and revisions to seasonal factors may also lead to revisions to the trend. As a result of the introduction of The New Tax System, a break in the monthly trend series has been inserted between June 2000 and July 2000. Care should therefore be taken in comparing the series over time. For further information, refer to Information Paper: A Guide to Interpreting Time Series - Monitoring Trends (cat. no. 1349.0).

Effects of rounding

14 Figures have been rounded and discrepancies may occur between totals and the sums of the component items.

15 Estimates of movement shown in this publication are obtained by taking the difference of unrounded estimates. The movement is then rounded to one decimal place. Therefore where a discrepancy occurs between the reported movement and the difference of the rounded estimates, the reported movement will be more accurate.

Further information

16 This constitutes the FINAL issue of the Sales of New Motor Vehicles (9314.0) publication. 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).

Glossary

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Other vehicles

Includes utilities, panel vans, cab chassis, goods carrying vans, rigid trucks, prime movers, non-freight carrying trucks, and buses. Also includes four wheel drive light commercial vehicles not classified as sports utility vehicles (SUVs).

Passenger vehicles

Includes vehicles designed primarily for the carriage of people, such as cars, station wagons and people movers. Also includes four wheel drive passenger vehicles not classified as SUVs. Note that this is not directly comparable to the definition of passenger vehicles in ABS collections (such as the Motor Vehicle Census) which includes SUVs.

Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs)

Includes vehicles designed as off road vehicles with four wheel drive capability, high ground clearance and a wagon body type, seating up to nine people (including the driver). Also includes four by two wagon variants of such vehicles sold in Australia which, if they were four wheel drive, would be eligible for import as off road vehicles. Excludes pick-up and cab chassis style vehicles. For more information on the specifications of SUVs, inquiries should be made to the Manager, VFACTS, Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries on (03) 9829 1234.

Quality declaration

Institutional environment

For information on the institutional environment of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), including the legislative obligations of the ABS, financing and governance arrangements, and mechanisms for scrutiny of ABS operations, please see ABS Institutional Environment.

Sales of New Motor Vehicles are compiled for publication using data provided by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI). The collection is known as VFACTS and is based on retail sales by all FCAI member companies.

The ABS calculates seasonally adjusted and trend series for publication in Sales of New Motor Vehicles, Australia.

Relevance

This publication presents statistics on sales of new motor vehicles by vehicle type at the state/territory and national level. Consumer and business expenditure on new motor vehicles is one of the main economic indicators published by the ABS. It is considered to be a key item to assist in measuring economic activity and its change over time.

VFACTS, the source of the motor vehicle sales data for the ABS, measures vehicles sold by all Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) members.

The vehicle types are aggregated into three data items for publishing by the ABS: passenger vehicles, sports utility vehicles and other vehicles. Refer to Explanatory Notes for further information about vehicle types.

Timeliness

The VFACTS collection is compiled for publication on a monthly basis, with the data being provided electronically to FCAI by the motor dealers on a daily basis. VFACTS data is released on the third working day of the following month.

The ABS receives data from VFACTS on the fourth working day following the reference period and calculates the seasonally adjusted and trend series for inclusion in Sales of New Motor Vehicles, Australia. The ABS publication is released monthly and within fifteen calendar days of the end of the reference period. This is usually about eight working days after FCAI publishes the original series.

Accuracy

FCAI advises coverage of motor vehicle sales in VFACTS is virtually 100%.

Data quality is assured through peer pressure as there is strong competition between dealers/manufacturers. Members are prepared to challenge information that does not accord with expectations. VFACTS data are processed by an independent company and the industry regards the output as very reliable.

Coherence

Sales of new motor vehicles are directly comparable over the collection cycles. The estimates are available at the state and territory level from 1992 for original, seasonally adjusted and trend series.

As part of the seasonal adjustment and trend analysis, dramatic movements in sales are highlighted for investigation and explanation. The ABS seeks advice or explanation from VFACTS in these matters.

The ABS confronts the VFACTS data each month against other statistical indicators to ensure it is accurate and a good indicator of the motor vehicle sales market.

Interpretability

The major series estimates for this collection are available in original, seasonally adjusted and trend series.

Seasonal adjustment removes the estimated effects of normal seasonal variation from the original time series estimates. This is done to reveal the underlying non-seasonal features of the series. Seasonal adjustment does not aim to remove influences such as the impact of the introduction of new models or industrial disputes. The seasonal adjustment factors are reviewed and revised on a regular basis.

The smoothing of seasonally adjusted estimates to produce trend estimates reduces the impact of the volatile component of the seasonally adjusted series.

Accessibility

Sales of New Motor Vehicles, Australia is an electronic publication and includes spreadsheets with monthly time series from 1994.

More detail from the VFACTS series is available if you are a member of FCAI.

Abbreviations

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'000thousand
ACTAustralian Capital Territory
Aust.Australia
cat. no.Catalogue number
no.number
NSWNew South Wales
NTNorthern Territory
QldQueensland
SASouth Australia
Tas.Tasmania
Vic.Victoria
WAWestern Australia