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NZ new-vehicle sales top 7000 in September

Top seller: The Toyota Corolla is holding down top spot in New Zealand car sales after nine months of 2009.

Best sales of 2009 raise hopes of better times ahead for NZ motor industry

General News logo6 Oct 2009

By JACQUI MADELIN in New Zealand

NEW Zealand monthly new-vehicle sales topped 7000 units for the first time this year in September, raising hopes that the market is steadying.

While the September tally of 7052 cars and commercial vehicles was still down 17 per cent on the corresponding month last year, the rate of decline does not look too bad when compared with the year-to-date slump of 29.7 per cent for the first three-quarters of 2009.

In fact, last month’s industry total was only 22 per cent down on September 2007’s 9132 units, before the global economic crisis hit.

The previous best sales month of 2009 was January, when the NZ car industry moved 6505 units. Since then it has been mostly downhill, with the volumes creeping above 6000 units in June.

With one quarter to go, the industry total stands at 52,430 New Zealand’s used import market is also steadying, the YTD figure down 32.6 per cent, to 48,514.

 center imageLeft: Holden Commodore Sportwagon. Below: Suzuki Swift.

Motor Industry Association CEO Perry Kerr said September sales were heartening, but the vehicle market was still vulnerable to current economic conditions.

“The pick-up in the economy is starting to flow through to vehicle sales,” he said. “However, we remain cautious until we see more of a definitive and sustained increase in sales figures.” Toyota NZ CEO Alistair Davis said the market had found a new level, but numbers would slowly climb back.

“People still need cars, what with our topography and [lack of] public transport – but it won’t be a U-shaped or V-shaped recovery graph – more of a Nike ‘swoosh’ with a slow climb back,” he said.

Toyota rounded out the third quarter by topping the September sales charts with 1864 sales and an overall market share of 26.4 per cent, ahead of Ford (855 sales, 12.1 per cent), Holden (610, 8.6 per cent) and Mazda (549, 7.8 per cent).

Although Toyota sales are down 30.6 per cent YTD, it still leads the 2009 market, with 10,563 sales and a 20.1 per cent share. Ford follows, down 26.1 per cent YTD to 6491, for 12.3 per cent share, and then Holden, down 35.2 per cent to 4851 for 9.2 per cent share, and Mazda, down 24.3 per cent to 4208 for 8.0 share.

Up and coming Hyundai has consolidated fifth place, up 3.4 per cent YTD to 3755 for 7.16 per cent share, while Nissan lies sixth, down 28.5 per cent to 3349 and 6.4 per cent share.

Others in the top ten are Suzuki (2870), Mitsubishi (2393), and Honda (2260).

Year to date, the Toyota Corolla continues as NZ’s best-selling model with sales of 3034 units, ahead of the Holden Commodore (2145) units and Suzuki Swift (1804).

In September, Mitsubishi shot up to fifth place on the back of Triton and Outlander runout ahead of new models in November.

By October, Mitsubishi will have a new managing director after the sudden retirement of John Leighton, with Japan-appointed executive director Mr Inoue acting managing director pending that announcement.

Of the rest, Kia is still trending up, with its newest dealer doubling its Auckland North Shore sales, and new models arrive shortly.

Korean brands have suffered least in terms of currency fluctuation, Japanese brands most.

Premium European brands remained strong in September, while Subaru had a comparatively good month on the back of new diesel Outback, Legacy and Forester models.

NZ top 10 makes, Sept 2009:
Rank Make Sales % Share
1 Toyota 1864 26.4%
2 Ford 855 12.1%
3 Holden 610 8.6%
4 Mazda 549 7.79%
5 Mitsubishi 414 5.8%
6 Hyundai 404 5.73%
7 Nissan 366 5.2%
8 Suzuki 359 5.1%
9 Honda 210 2.9%
10 Kia 204 2.9%
Source: MIA NZ, October 2009

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