Sales of new motor vehicles in Australia surged by the most in 14 months in September to reach an all-time high, a sign consumers have the confidence to splash out on big ticket items even while being cost-conscious on retail spending.

Government figures show new vehicle sales rose by a seasonally adjusted 4.7 per cent in September to 98,701, following an upwardly revised 4.3 per cent rise in August. Sales were up a hefty 14.4 per cent compared to September last year.

Sales of sports utility vehicles extended their meteoric run with an increase of 4.2 per cent to a record peak of 27,818. Sales of passenger vehicles jumped 6.5 per cent, while sales of other vehicles, including trucks, increased by 1.1 per cent.

The robust vehicle numbers contrast with sluggishness seen in retail sales and suggest overall household spending is not as weak as some fear.

Industry data out earlier in the month showed new vehicle sales up 9 per cent on September last year. Toyota retained first place on the sales ladder with 18.3 per cent of the market in September.

Mazda jumped to second spot, pipping Holden. Hyundai took fourth spot while Ford fell back to fifth.

Reuters