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NZ market continues recovery

Up and running: July sales of Ford's all-new Territory were up 90 per cent in New Zealand despite stock shortages.

Improved supply from Japan helps lift New Zealand new vehicle sales in July

General News logo8 Aug 2011


NEW Zealand’s new car market last month showed signs of continued recovery from the aftermath of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, rising by 11.8 per cent over the same month last year to 6705 units.

Passenger car sales rose 9.7 per cent to 4446 units while commercial vehicle sales were up 17.7 per cent to 1826.

For the first seven months of the year, sales are up 7.2 per cent over the same period last year to 48,717.

“The new vehicle industry is beginning to regain ground lost over the past three months, when sales were impacted by stock shortages”, said Motor Industry Association CEO Perry Kerr.

However, used import sales fell 14.3 per cent to 6705 units in July, and are down 7.7 per cent year-to-date at 48,636, just below the new vehicle YTD tally.

Stock shortages continued to hamper market leader Toyota, which was down 0.5 per cent to 1026 sales over July last year, but sales and operations manager Steve Prangnell said the situation was improving.

“We are still in a very tight supply situation with Corolla hatch, Yaris and most SUVs,” Mr Prangnell told GoAuto.

80 center imageFrom top: Toyota HiLux, Holden Cruze, Suzuki Alto, Volkswagen Scirocco.

“However, our stock situation is beginning to improve. In June we landed just over 850 units and in July it was over 1300, so the tide has begun to turn, and TMC’s factories are all running above 100 per cent capacity through a combination of overtime and swing shifts.”

Nevertheless, Mr Prangnell predicted supply constraints for August due to Japan’s ‘Golden Week’ summer holiday from August 11-18, when all plants are shut, but Toyota expects to be “back to full strength in the final quarter of the year”.

Ford finished second for the month, but was down 7.4 per cent to 709 sales.

Departing managing director Trevor Auger – who was replaced by Neale Hill from July 25 – said reduced Falcon numbers were offset by Fiesta, which doubled year on year, and Territory, which are up 90 per cent despite constrained launch stock.

Mr Auger said the overall volume drop was explained by availability issues, with Mondeo demand also outstripping supply.

Holden attributed a rise of 22.5 per cent to 687 sales to improved performances by Cruze and Captiva while Suzuki had a strong month for fourth spot with sales up 57.4 per cent to 524.

Suzuki marketing GM Tom Peck said: “We had a ‘no GST’ promotion on Alto with quite good results and Swift registrations for July were well up on last year. Demand for Swift seems to be helped a little by stock shortages from some other brands – possibly still as a result of shortages due to the tsunami.”

But Suzuki is also being affected by the natural disaster in terms of SUV supply.

“Our factories are working short weeks due to power constraints with the power station near our Sagara plant shut down for tsunami protection measures,” explained Mr Peck.

Hyundai sales hit 520, an increase of 27.5 per cent, while Mazda fell 15.5 per cent to 480 and Nissan dropped 2.8 per cent to 451.

Nissan NZ managing director John Manley said his company’s stock problems were now related to pent-up global demand rather than production in Japan.

“We have ongoing supply constraints, although these are now more aligned to the huge increase in global demand for Nissan product as opposed to the effect of the Japanese earthquake,” said Mr Manley.

“We anticipate another couple of months of shortages as we catch up on production and transit times with stock ex-Europe.”

Mitsubishi sales rose 4.9 per cent to 403 but the big mover was ninth-placed Volkswagen (up 46 per cent to 257), where Scirocco and Tiguan have sold out and vans were up 65 per cent.

Honda dropped out of the top 10 in July due to earthquake-related shortages particularly affecting Jazz and was replaced by Kia, which rose 36.5 per cent to 217 sales with the arrival of vehicles to fulfill back orders.

Honda NZ managing director Graeme Seymour said the company holds “well over 100 back orders” for Jazz but that “supply should come right in September”.

In the meantime, Mr Seymour said Civic was now completely out of stock until the next full model change arrives – and that has also been delayed by the Japanese earthquake.

New Zealand’s top-selling model in July with 325 sales was the Suzuki Swift, which is also the year’s top-seller on 1978. The Toyota HiLux was second for the month with 262, followed by the Nissan Navara (248), Holden Commodore (204) and Holden Captiva (163).

NZ top 10 makes July2011:

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