Rising sales of work-related vehicles shows the housing market recovery is taking the economic baton from mining investment.
New car sales rose 1.7 per cent in December, seasonally-adjusted, with 97,014 vehicles sold Australia-wide, according to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics on Wednesday.
The rise was driven by a four per cent jump in sales in the `other vehicles' category, which includes utilities, vans, buses, trucks and other work vehicles.
CommSec economist Savanth Sebastian said the `other vehicles' category had turned around in the last three months, after falling for 10 consecutive months, in trend terms.
"That pull-back in `other vehicles' sales that we did see would be the winding back of mining investment and now we're starting to see the baton changing across to the housing sector," Mr Sebastian said.
"That seems to suggest there's a bit more support starting to come through for some of those more commercial vehicles.
"It probably is, to some degree, part of the housing recovery story."
The encouraging figures, combined with recent strong retail sales and housing data, means another cash rate cut is unlikely, Mr Sebastian said.
"Car dealerships seem to be experiencing some pretty healthy growth and the broader consumption story is relatively upbeat and strong," he said.
"The Reserve Bank of Australia would have to be pleased with the way the economic outlook is tracking."