Australian new-vehicle deliveries in January picked up where they left off from last year’s record result, with SUVs leaving cars with less than half the market.

The thriving new-vehicle market saw sales jump 11.3% to 85,430 units, compared with year-ago, according to data released by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries.

Australians continued to move to SUVs, with deliveries up 20.1% to 26,623 units for 31.2% of the total market.

New-car sales eased 1.3% to 41,957 units, as a 45.4% decline in government purchases more than offset a 4.3% rise in private sales. For the first time, cars made up less than half the market with a 49.1% share.

Deliveries of light-commercial vehicles jumped 43.9% to 14,972 units, mostly attributable to a 63.6% surge in 4x4 pickups to 10,022, for a 17.5% market share.

Sales of locally manufactured vehicles dropped 28.4% year-on-year.

Toyota led the January market with 13,375 deliveries, ahead of Mazda with 8,912 and GM Holden with 8,811.

The Mazda3 was the No.1 model with 3,345 units sold, ahead of the Toyota Corolla (2,960), Toyota Hilux (2,747), Nissan Navara (2,474) and Ford Focus (2,364).

Toyota began 2013 where it left off last year, holding a massive market lead despite shortages of some models following a surge of more than 59,000 sales in fourth-quarter 2012.

“It was a great start to the year for Toyota, especially as it followed our year-end (sales) push, and January is usually a slower month,” Matthew Callachor, executive director- Toyota Australia sales and marketing, says in a statement.

“We expect arrivals of in-demand Toyota models to improve during February and March, enabling us to record another year in excess of 200,000 sales.”

Mazda kicked off the new year with sales up 5.1% over its record set 12 months earlier. Along with the market-leading Mazda3, it saw the Mazda2 sell a January-record 1,665 units to lead the light-car segment. The Mazda CX-5 topped the medium-SUV segment with 1,625.

Nissan also started 2013 with a record January result, up 34% to 7,202 units. It was the auto maker’s ninth consecutive month of record sales as a full-line importer.

Hyundai enjoyed a record month with total sales up 4.7% to 6,816 units, despite the strength of the South Korean won and a weakened Japanese yen. It ranked fourth in Australia’s car sales, with 4,585 for a 10.9% share.