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NZ sales defy quake
Toyota retains its stranglehold on number one position
7 Mar 2011
By JACQUI MADELIN in New Zealand
THE New Zealand vehicle industry ended February in a subdued state despite increased sales, with the country in a national state of emergency and a number of dealerships in its second-largest city still behind a cordon erected around Christchurch CBD after the February 22 earthquake.
Nevertheless, new vehicle sales continued their upward trend, with the 6404 tally a 13.2 per cent increase on February 2010.
New passenger registrations were up 12.6 per cent, while commercials rose 15.0 per cent. Used imports dropped 3.3 per cent, to 6748.
Toyota remained at number one with 1261 sales, an increase of 27.5 per cent on the same month last year.
Ford followed on 596, down 1.7 per cent.
Ford NZ managing director Trevor Auger, commenting on a 1.7 per cent decrease to 596 units, said bigger organisations are taking longer to make buying decisions, which after the Christmas closedown has meant fleet-oriented dealers have had a real battle.
However, with new Mondeo launching on April 1, followed by Territory, he expects Ford sales will rise this year.
From top: Honda Jazz performed strongly in February. Nissan Juke (middle) and Ford Territory (bottom) are on their way to NZ.
Hyundai almost surpassed Ford, its 583 February tally a rise of 48.3 per cent and taking the Korean brand into third place, in part due to Government fleet orders for the i30.
Holden dropped to fourth place with 499 sales (down 9.4 per cent), followed by Suzuki in fifth at 473 (a rise of 37.5 per cent), with Mazda a close sixth with 472 sales (up 2.2 per cent).
Mazda NZ managing director Andrew Clearwater said private buyers have not yet returned to the market and what remains is government and large fleet sales. “We are in the small fleet and private market – the businesses that are struggling,” Mr Clearwater lamented.
Nissan sales fell 4.3 per cent to 423 due to stock supply issues, according to Nissan NZ managing director John Manley. He expects a boost in sales from new product such as Juke, but believes the industry could flat-line after the earthquake.
Mitsubishi recorded its 13th successive month-on-month improvement, lifting 11.8 per cent to 387 sales, thanks to fleet business according to company sales and marketing chief Warren Brown.
Honda continued its resurgence with a 42.9 per cent lift to 270 sales while Volkswagen rounded out the top ten in February with 246 sales (up 31.6 per cent) thanks to a pricing rethink and particularly strong commercial sales, including 39 orders for the new Amarok ute.
Suzuki’s new Swift was the top-selling model for February with 351 sales, followed by the Toyota HiLux (339) and Hyundai i30 (310).
New vehicle sales are up 12.7 per cent year to date, well ahead of initial industry predictions of five per cent for the year – though that prediction may change once the full impact of the earthquake is known.
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