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NZ sales race ahead
Earthquake recovery ahead of target as Toyota bounces back in New Zealand
7 May 2012
By JACQUI MADELIN in New Zealand
NEW Zealand’s vehicle market predictably grew considerably in April compared with the same month in 2011, which had been the first to be impacted by the March 11 Japanese earthquake and tsunami.
After growing by 10 per cent in the first quarter, new vehicle sales rose 25.6 per cent in April to 7048, with passenger-car registrations up 27.5 per cent to 5430 and commercial vehicles up 19.7 per cent to 1618.
Used import sales were down by 4.4 per cent to 6107 units, continuing the expected slowdown resulting from new emissions regulations that took hold in January.
Motor Industry Association chief executive officer Perry Kerr said the April result confirmed that the market is stronger than forecast at the start of the year.
Toyota again topped the market, up 34.8 per cent to 1205 sales for a 17.1 per cent share as it continues to recover numbers after last year’s natural disasters.
Ford rose 18.4 per cent for second place with 825 sales, while stock shortages of the ix35 kept third-placed Hyundai’s rise down to 18.5 per cent, ending its run of ahead-of-trend growth.
Holden was up some 45 per cent, but fell just 12 vehicles short of Hyundai, while Mazda was boosted by 179 sales of the newly launched CX-5 to finish the month in fifth, up 22.6 per cent.
From top: The Mazda CX-5 and Suzuki Swift.
Nissan came in sixth with 460 sales, up some 73.6 per cent and stronger than expected, but Nissan NZ managing director John Manley was not about to pop the champagne corks, knowing that last April was low due to production shortages.
“April surprised us it was stronger than we thought,” said Mr Manley.
“But last year virtually everyone was hamstrung by production constraints and the next few months will still see a degree of catch-up before things settle.” Mr Manley expects the vehicle market to slow as the year progresses and to end six per cent up on 2011.
“The government has signaled a neutral budget and no additional government spending is a signal to be careful. Our dollar is high, global commodity prices have come off and that has a negative impact on the country, but we’re in the car market. We’re always positive.”
Suzuki sales climbed 13.5 per cent to 421, Mitsubishi was up 19.7 per cent with 371, Honda returned to the top 10 in ninth with 311 sales, up 26.9 per cent, and Volkswagen rounded out the top 10 with 264 sales, up 8.6 per cent.
Honda was boosted by the delayed launch of the new Civic in March, but is still without stocks of CR-V, City or V6 Accord.
The luxury-car market was extremely close, with BMW selling 121 cars, beating Mercedes-Benz – which was without B-class or M-class – by a single unit, with Audi just another two behind.
Ford Ranger was April’s top-selling vehicle with 279 registrations, followed by Toyota HiLux (278), Suzuki Swift (228), Toyota Corolla (218) and Nissan Navara (214).
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