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Hiccup puts NZ sales in reverse
New Zealand vehicle sales slip 0.7 per cent as election, Thai floods add to woes
6 Dec 2011
By JACQUI MADELIN in New Zealand
NEW ZEALAND new-vehicle sales hit another speed bump in November, down 0.7 per cent on the same month last year, to 7328 units.
Distributors cite a triple whammy – the distraction of the election, continuing supply issues from the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, and supply constraints after Thailand’s floods.
New passenger car registrations took the hit, dropping 3.8 per cent to 5644 sales, while light commercial registrations rose 11.7 per cent to 1684.
Used import numbers fell 10.2 per cent, to 7266.
Despite the November slip, the NZ new vehicle industry is running 4.9 per cent ahead of 2010 year to date, at 78,164 vehicles.
NZ Motor Industry Association CEO Perry Kerr said the November numbers reflected the serious stock shortages that impacted on the industry.
“Commercial sales are buoyant, however, so there must be some life in the underlying economy,” he said.
From top: Ford Ranger, Toyota HiLux and Hyundai i30.
Toyota continues its domination of the market with a 21 per cent share, despite a 16.8 per cent fall in sales over November 2010, to 1538.
Toyota NZ chief executive Alistair Davis said the drop was due to a combination of factors, with short supply of HiLux out of Thailand and less predictable rental car demand this year.
“The Rugby World Cup distorted some things,” he said.
However, he expects a big December with stock arriving to fill demand.
Mr Davis says that although HiLux production has restarted, Toyota NZ had lost between 500 and 1000 units.
“Some buyers will wait, others will buy whatever is available,” he said.
Second-placed Ford held its own with a 0.7 per cent rise, to 920 sales, followed by Holden, up 26 per cent to 820.
Holden general marketing manager Matt Woodley said 60 Barina sales in its first full month helped – last year’s average was 15 to 20 a month – and there was strong rental demand in new model lines.
“We were one of few with a strong retail campaign including TV – Holden is constantly in front of people,” he said.
Holden was not impacted by ute shortages, Mr Woodley said, with Colorado sales modest but slightly above last year.
Hyundai sales rose 9.5 per cent to 577 units, to relegate Mazda to fifth place, down 9.7 per cent to 484 vehicles.
Mazda national marketing manager Glenn Harris said sales excluding rentals were up 11.5 per cent.
“There was a small residual effect of supply disruptions following the March earthquake in Japan and some impact stemming from the Thailand floods,” he said.
“However, we have a good inventory position going into December and look forward to consolidating the introduction of the all-new BT-50 and new Mazda3.”
Nissan is in a holding pattern, up 2.2 per cent with 418 sales, likewise Mitsubishi, up 1.7 per cent to 359.
Suzuki fell 29 per cent to 304. Suzuki marketing GM Tom Peck said: “Private market share has gone down.
“We’re in the private market, and that hurts. The election caused disruption and uncertainty, no doubt, but we’re happy we’ll finish the year well ahead.” Mr Peck commented that a European recession and its impact on exchange rates would have an effect.
“Our value against the US dollar in the last Euro meltdown dropped 10 cents in a matter of a few days, which impacts us because we buy more in US dollars than most car distributors, as we buy motorcycles in US dollars too,” he said.
Volkswagen had another good month, its sales rising 19.7 per cent to 273, with Kia rounding out the top 10 on 224.
Toyota Corolla regained top spot on the model charts with 439 sales in November, followed by Ford Ranger at 264, HiLux on 259 and Hyundai i30 at 238.
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