06/01/2016 4:14 PM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST

2015 New Car Sales Breaks Record, More than 1.1m Sold In Australia

Couple driving in convertible under sunny sky
Dave and Les Jacobs via Getty Images
Couple driving in convertible under sunny sky

Aussies bought a record-breaking number of new cars last year, with the result so strong that even scandal-plagued Volkswagen notched up a big lift in sales.

The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) said 1,155,408 new vehicles were sold in 2015, a 3.8 percent lift from the previous year. The result is 1.7 percent better than the old record of 1,136,227 set in 2013.

Toyota was the top selling brand cornering 17.8 percent of the market. It was followed by Mazda, Holden, Hyundai and Mitsubishi.

Volkswagen, meanwhile, posted yearly sales of 60,225 up from 54,801 the year before, according to the FCAI figures.

The new data comes as the German-based marque is embroiled in scandal over controversial environmental technology fitted to some of its vehicles.

It has been reported that at least 78,000 Volkswagen vehicles have been sold locally with the so-called "defeat device" that enables cars to pass stringent emissions testing.

In October, Volkswagen announced a recall of 90,000 cars across Australia.

Volkswagen has been sought for comment on the FCAI data and the impact of its vehicle recall on sales.

The FCAI said Toyota Corolla was Australia’s best-selling car in 2015, with 42,073 sold.

New car sales rose in NSW, ACT, Queensland, Tasmania and Victoria but fell in the Northern Territory, South Australia and Western Australia.

CommSec chief economist Craig James was not surprised at the strong national picture.

"It’s not hard to see why people are updating their rides," James said.

"Car affordability is at the best levels recorded, employment is rising, interest rates are at record lows and wealth levels are at record highs."

He predicted consumers would buy new cars in strong numbers through 2016.

Low interest rates would help support spending while robust competition between car manufacturers would help restrain prices, he said.

"The area to watch is the housing market as softer home prices could restrain car buying enthusiasm," James added.