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Rocky NZ market set to recover

Quinella: Toyota sits at one-two in the NZ annual sales charts, with the HiLux in first and the Corolla on its tail.

Fresh stocks to the rescue as New Zealand comes back from June sales dip

General News logo7 Jul 2011

By JACQUI MADELIN in NEW ZEALAND

THE New Zealand motoring industry is confident post-Japan-earthquake stock shortages will turn around from this month, despite another sales drop in June.

Junes sales were down 4.4 per cent on the corresponding month last year, to 7652, but New Zealand sales remain in the black year-to-date with 42,012 vehicles sold for a 6.5 per cent rise on 2010.

In the first half of 2011, the passenger car market rose 3.3 per cent, to 31,291 vehicles, while commercial vehicles were up 19.3 per cent, to 10,944.

NZ Motor Industry Association CEO Perry Kerr said stock shortages were still affecting new passenger car sales.

“I am, however, heartened by the number of vehicles crossing the wharf in June,” he said.

Used import vehicle sales dropped 6.5 per cent year to date over the same period last year, with 41,688 registrations.

But MTA statistics show the number of vehicles changing hands overall in the year to June remains the same as 2010, with Christchurch transactions dropping one per cent.

80 center imageBig sellers: Suzuki Swift, Nissan Navara, Holden Commodore.

Toyota holds its number one spot year to date with 8064 sales for 19.19 per cent – down 3.4 per cent on the same period last year after another bad month, with June sales down 39.8 per cent.

Toyota chief executive Alistair Davis said he expected the greatest impact from May to July, possibly into August, and doubts Toyota’s industry lead is at risk over the full year “unless our supply chain takes a blow”.

“We’ve had two of the worst months we expect, and I think we’re at the bottom of the trough in terms of supply,” he said.

Toyota stock typically numbers 3300 units. “Last month we had literally a couple of thousand units of stock across the country, and brought in 800,” Mr David said.

“At the start of July we’re down to just under 1800 units, and arrivals are up to 1330 – up 60 per cent.

“During June we had virtually no Yaris, no SUVs and very few Corolla.” Mr Davis said he expected normal supply within three months.

Ford sits second with 4346 sales, up 2.4 per cent, for 10.34 per cent share.

Holden sold 3757 vehicles – down 7.7 per cent – for 8.94 per cent share YTD.

Managing director Jeff Murray said he did not expect market growth to continue, and forecast an annual 82,000 to 83,000 sales this year, up three per cent on 2010.

Hyundai chief operating officer Tom Ruddenklau anticipates slightly stronger second-half sales as NZ benefits from freer supply.

Hyundai sold 3412 units so far this year, up 21.3 per cent, for 8.12 per cent share.

Mr Ruddenklau says conquest sales didn’t come primarily from Japanese brands short of stock but across the board, including Europeans.

Mr Ruddenklau said his challenge would be supply.

“Hyundai isn’t producing enough to meet global demand,” he said. “We need more SUVs, more i30 and more vans, and we’re fighting our way to get what we can.” Mazda sits fifth, down 6.1 per cent, to 2916 sales, for 6.94 per cent share.

Managing director Andrew Clearwater said Mazda ended June with no stock of some models.

“We were impacted in terms of Mazda2, 3 and CX-7 stock – that was all earthquake effect,” he said.

“We assume June will be our biggest, but we only get once-a-month boats, so though vehicles have now been produced, we have to get them here.” Mr Clearwater said he expected July to improve with good stock arrivals, and dealer carry-over orders at their strongest for a single month than for any of the last three years, “which suggests it [the earthquake] impacted us more than we thought”.

Sixth-placed Nissan’s sales rose 8.3 per cent, to 2826 vehicles, and 6.73 per cent share, followed by Suzuki, up 7.8 per cent to 2575 and 6.13 per cent share.

Mitsubishi took 5.96 per cent share with sales up 16.3 per cent to 2506 after the brand’s 18th consecutive monthly improvement in sales.

Volkswagen had another good June with 225 sales representing a 144.9 per cent rise to bring its year-to-date total to 1869, up 63.5 per cent, for 4.45 per cent share.

Amarok accounts for much of that increase, plus increased fleet sales after lower prices points were set for passenger cars.

Honda rounded out the top 10 on 1497 sales, a rise of 17 per cent so far this year, for 3.56 per cent share.

Among the luxury players, Mercedes-Benz led the year-to-date figures with 737 sales, up 17.4 per cent. Audi rose 1.7 per cent to 733, all passenger vehicles, with BMW on 667, up 2.5.

Mercedes general manager Coby Duggan said the company had strong commercial sales with impressive fleet contracts, but passenger sales were inconsistentm, partly dictated by life cycles.

“I don’t think anyone is expecting the year to shape up that well,” he said. “So much has happened in the last six months that’s been outside everyone’s control.” But Mr Duggan said the luxury segment is trending slightly ahead.

Audi general manager Dane Fisher said the brand – which has led the segment in NZ for four years – had had its biggest first half of sales in the history of the brand, which arrived in NZ in 1969.

But Mr Fisher said consumer confidence was not strong and business would not be easier in the lead-up to November’s general election.

Five of June’s best-sellers were utes. Year-to-date Toyota’s HiLux leads the rankings with 2227 sales, followed by Toyota’s Corolla on 1838 and Suzuki Swift with 1653. Nissan Navara sits fourth (1388) and Holden Commodore fifth (1306).

The two-wheeled market remains in the doldrums with YTD motorcycle sales ahead of 2010 by only 10 units. However, mopeds had a massive June surge, ahead of new regulations that will subject then to a full compliance check on arrival from July 1.

NZ top 10 makes June 2011:
Rank Make Sales % Share
1 Toyota 1270 16.6
2 Ford 875 10.5
3 Holden 684 10.3
4 Hyundai 663 8.6
5 Nissan 605 7.9
6 Mitsubishi 540 7.8
7 Mazda 467 6.7
8 Volkswagen 431 5.5
9 Suzuki 412 4.6
10 Kia 223 3.3

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