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NZ sales slide accelerates
Worst June caps a first-half to forget for NZ motor industry
6 Jul 2009
By JACQUI MADELIN in NEW ZEALAND
THE New Zealand motor industry's first-half losing streak finished on a down note, with the lowest June sales since Motor Industry Association sales records began in 1975.
Just 6118 vehicles were sold last month – down 3512 units or 36 per cent on June last year.
At the halfway mark of the year, NZ vehicle sales are down 33 per cent on last year, to just 34,178 passenger cars and commercial vehicles.
Market leader Toyota’s 35 per cent sales decline this year is roughly in line with the industry fall, meaning its year-to-date market share is down only marginally from 19.8 per cent last year to 19.3 per cent, on sales of 6601 vehicles.
Ford boosted its YTD share to 12.3 per cent for the first half by beating the industry average decline. Its first-half sales of 4227 units represents a 25.5 per cent fall on last year.
By contrast, Holden has suffered 42 per cent decline in sales due at least in part to stock shortages – particularly in the top-selling small-car market where Cruze is finally coming to the rescue. Holden’s June share fell to 6.9 per cent, dragging its year-to-date share down to 8.8 per cent on sales of 3028 vehicles. That, however, was still good enough for third place YTD.
Left: Toyota Yaris. Below: Ford Fiesta.
Mazda is fourth (2806, 8.2 per cent), followed by Hyundai which swam against the tide to record a drop of just 8 per cent year-on-year (2533 sales, 7.4 per cent).
Sixth is Nissan (2222, 6.5 per cent), with Suzuki (1891, 5.54 per cent), Honda (1650, 4.8 per cent) Mitsubishi (1421 sales, 4.1 per cent) and Volkswagen (1051, for 3 per cent) rounding out the top 10.
Among the prestige marques, the Euros have held up well, with Audi and BMW falling 14 and 21 per cent YTD respectively, and Mercedes increasing sales by 12 per cent, to also increase market share from 1.1 per cent YTD 2008, to two per cent this June.
Of the smaller mainstream brands the two stand-outs were Daihatsu - down 60 per cent YTD with 263 sales (and 80 per cent for June alone) - and Subaru, its 679 sales representing YTD drop of 21 per cent.
Toyota chief executive Alistair Davis says Daihatsu is focussed on Japanese domestic business, and "the message we're getting is don't work too hard”.
He said he aimed to retain market share for Toyota - this year's 19.3 per cent virtually line-ball with last year's 19.8.
"We've been the leader along with Honda in putting our prices up, so to hold our market share is gratifying," he said.
Honda managing director Graeme Seymour said today's reality was that vehicles had to be sold at higher prices.
"In our view there isn't much point getting market share for no profit," he says. "Keeping our sales network alive is key." Mr Seymour acknowledged Honda prices had risen above the trend.
"It's trying times for international car-makers. It's better for Honda to put its resources into protecting factory staff than protecting a little nation south of Fiji by selling cars at a loss," he said.
Subaru marketing manager Peter Douglas-Bell said the key for Subaru was “staying out of the discount bottom-feeding area, staying out of price slashing and focusing on strong value”.
"I think in difficult times people look to brands that have been stable over a number of years, and that has stood us in good stead," he said.
Ford NZ managing director Trevor Auger admits positive international news reports on Ford – in contrast to coverage of GM and Chrysler – had assisted his increased market share.
Hyundai NZ executive director Philip Eustace cites good product and an improving quality reputation, but also credits publicity underlining that Hyundai NZ and its dealers were NZ owned and run, which he said struck a chord with insular Kiwis.
Hyundai was one of four brands - including Nissan, Mazda and Holden - to sell within 16 vehicles of the same figure in June, resulting in a hot battle for third to sixth for the month.
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