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New Zealand sales: Utes and SUVs on top

Chart-topper: The Ford Ranger beat its Toyota HiLux arch-nemesis to be New Zealand’s most popular new vehicle in May.

Commercial and SUV sales power New Zealand to another month of strong sales growth

General News logo7 Jun 2013


IT LOOKS increasingly likely that New Zealand vehicle sales will be significantly higher in 2013 than predicted, with recent strong growth continuing unabated through May.

May saw 8924 passenger and commercial sales, in what was a fifth consecutive month of sustained growth. The circa-9000 sales figures for May was the highest total in 23 years.

Motor Industry Association CEO David Crawford chalked much of this up to sustained growth in commercial vehicle sales, a proportion of which are a hangover of the 2011 Thai floods.

Simply put, the stock shortfall resulting from damaged factories in Thailand, where most commercials are now built, delayed vehicle turnover.

“The strong market continues to surprise us, it’s running ahead of expectations.”

said Mr Crawford.

“Speaking to dealers, they’ve seen a higher-than usual number of fleet vehicles coming in at five years instead of three,” Experts have also previously attributed the growth to work vehicles purchased to help with the post-earthquake rebuild of Christchurch.

As a further sign of the times, the measure of success for individual brands was largely reflected by market preference for commercials. You can throw SUVs into the mix, too, with these two market sectors accounting for half of all vehicle sales.

New Zealand’s top-selling model in May was Ford’s (Australian-designed) Ranger with 483 registrations, followed by the Toyota Hilux with 447, Holden Captiva (304) and Hyundai Santa Fe (270). The Toyota Corolla (268) was the only passenger car in the mix.

Toyota lead the sales table, with numbers up 6.9 per cent in May 2013 over the same 2012 month, to 1731, for 19.4 per cent market share.

Ford sales rose 26.3 per cent to 1185 sales, while Holden was up 38.8 per cent to 902 registrations.

Holden managing director Jeff Murray told us: “a large part of that is Colorado – we didn’t have any in the first six months of last year, and we did just on 200 for the month. (Also) Commodore and 2012 Captiva were on runout which drove increments in their numbers.” “With new VF, Malibu, Trax and some model year upgrades we anticipate year-on-year growth for Holden,” he said.

Mr Murray envisages overall market growth continuing. “The market is running at record levels with no sign of tapering off. We will revise our industry forecast to around 109,400.”

Hyundai figures lifted 16.2 per cent to 711 units. General manager Andy Sinclair said having good supply of the Santa Fe SUV – the nation’s second best-selling SUV after the Holden Captiva – was a boost.

But, he said “the company has still been “performing badly in light commercial as we’ve struggled with supply. We hope that will improve in the next couple of months”.

Mazda took fifth place on 515 sales, down 8.2 per cent, followed by Nissan – down 40.9 per cent over May 2012 to 417 units, and 26 per cent below 2011’s figure.

Suzuki equalled Nissan numbers – marking an 11.5 per cent drop – followed closely by Volkswagen on 414 sales, up 32.3 per cent.

Kia rounded out the top 10, down 6.2 per cent to 259 units.

Meantime, used importers took advantage of the strong dollar against the yen to land 10,967 vehicles in May, the highest number since July 2007.

Used import sales rose 25 per cent to 8460 in May, up 25 per cent over May 2012, with the used import market on track to tally 90,000 sales by year end.

The Suzuki Swift was May's top-selling import, with 369 units, followed by Nissan Tiida (361) and Mazda Demio (359).

NZ Top 10 makes May 2013
RankMakeSales% Share

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