Australia’s vehicle market is showing signs of recovery after a coronavirus-induced slump earlier this year.

The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries says 81,220 new cars and trucks were sold in October, down just 1.5 per cent on the same month last year.

But that still left demand on a year-to-date basis down 18.8 per cent with 726,111 vehicles sold so far.

“These results mark the 31st month of decreasing sales for the industry, which has experienced a series of financial and market challenges during the period,” FCAI chief executive Tony Weber said on Thursday.

“However, we realise that times have been very tough right across the Australian economy.

“The green shoots that we are seeing in October give us great hope that we may begin to see further recovery during the coming months.

“Nationally, the state of industry operations is slowly returning to normal as COVID-19 restrictions ease.”

The October result was vastly improved compared to the 48.5 per cent slump in April and the 35 per cent fall in May, as Australia endured the first wave of coronavirus cases.

Toyota was the top-selling brand last month with 19,505 vehicles ahead of Mazda on 7457 and Hyundai on 5951.

The Japanese-based company also had the best selling vehicles, retailing 4444 across its Hi-Lux range ahead of the Ford Ranger on 4217 and the Toyota Rav4 on 4084.

While closing in on its departure from the local market, Holden sold just 165 cars for the month compared to 3086 in the same month last year.

With Australia’s economy starting to bounce back, Mr Weber said there might never be a better time for customers to consider buying a new car.

“Dealerships are open across the country and they are keen to do business,” he said.

“Customers are returning to dealerships and are being spoiled with a wealth of choice of well-specified, attractively priced new vehicles.”