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NZ fleets help to drive growth
Vehicle sales climb out of the mire as NZ government nominates three suppliers
7 Sep 2010
By JACQUI MADELIN in New Zealand
NEW ZEALAND’S vehicle market continues its slow climb out of recession, with August’s 6437 sales representing a 17.2 per cent rise in passenger car and LCV volumes over August 2009.
It could have been higher, says Motor Industry Association CEO Perry Kerr, but for stock constraints in some areas.
Mr Kerr said the August increase needed to be viewed against the fact that August 2009’s 1076 sales tally was one of the lowest on record.
Last month’s 4720 passenger car sales marked a seven per cent rise on August last year, with light commercial sales up 60 per cent to 1717 vehicles.
Used import sales have bounced back further with 7730 registrations, an increase of 26.5 per cent over August 2009.
Big news for the month is the announcement of the new system of government contracts, replacing the departmental vehicle tender process.
Buying has been centralised, with the government issuing a list of three main suppliers – primarily Toyota and Hyundai, plus Mitsubishi – with an approved list of models from which the various departments must choose.
The contracts are reportedly watertight and government departments will therefore have to use the designated list for all but specialist requirements. That means Holden, Ford and Nissan are likely to lose out, except where existing specialist contracts such as the police requirement remain intact.
Left: A New Zealand Highway Patrol Holden Commodore.
Specialist contracts have not yet been made public.
Government orders reportedly make up at least 10 per cent of NZ sales, sufficient to change the fortunes of several companies. Hyundai stands to gain the most if its cars are chosen over Toyota’s.
Meanwhile, Toyota remained glued to top spot on the sales table with 1104 sales in August, up 8.4 per cent, for 17.15 per cent share.
Toyota general manager sales and operations Steve Prangnell said Toyota had been the major government supplier for 20 years, with 25 to 30 per cent of annual government fleet orders, “so it was important to be part of that tender and maintain our position”.
He said having a nationwide dealer network was vital to winning the tender – “infrastructure counts”.
Ford placed second, up 14.2 per cent, its 790 sales boosted by 200 rental deliveries.
Ford managing director Trevor Auger said he supported of a transparent government tender process, but with secondary contracts not yet confirmed, he could not be sure they would offset Ford’s contract losses.
Mazda hit another record in August, with 604 sales – its largest August tally – helping it to hold on to third place, with 9.38 per cent share.
Mazda NZ managing director Andrew Clearwater said quality fleet replacement was coming in, with most sales from metropolitan dealers.
“Our rural guys who traditionally do private business are still finding it pretty tough,” he said.
“It helps that we are in stock and we are turning it over. We have gained some business over competitors finding it hard to source stock.”
Mr Clearwater said fleets that deferred purchases last year were now buying, driving sales.
“Rather than solid signs of economic recovery, the economy has hit a plateau,” he said.
Holden sits fourth with 580 sales, down 0.3 per cent with Commodore on run-out, and Nissan takes fifth on 467, up 31.5 per cent.
Its managing director John Manley also says that increase comes via fleets, with private buyers still cautious.
He said losing government contracts was a blow, but Qashqai’s conquest sales could offset that loss.
Hyundai takes sixth, up 18.2 per cent to 429 sales, and Mitsubishi retains seventh up 16.7 to 377, followed by Suzuki up 32.7 per cent on 365.
Honda sales gained 3.1 per cent, to 232, for ninth place, with VW rounding out the top 10 at 210 sales, up 43.8 per cent.
Toyota’s HiLux topped August sales with 247 registrations followed by the Corolla on 224 and Suzuki’s evergreen Swift at 208.
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