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Buoyant passenger car sales lift NZ market
Jump in January New Zealand vehicle sales, despite lingering shortages of Thai utes
7 Feb 2012
NEW Zealand new-vehicle sales grew 15.4 per cent in January, to 8681 vehicles, thanks to a healthy rise in passenger car registrations that soared to their highest January levels since 2008.
The 7499 passenger car sales helped to offset a 10 per cent drop in light commercial vehicles volumes – down to 1182 units – due to ute stock shortages caused by last year’s Thailand floods.
Used import vehicle numbers also fell, to 6620, down 9.1 per cent on the same month in 2011.
Motor Industry Association chief executive officer Perry Kerr said the new-vehicle industry had had a strong start to the year “which hopefully is an indication of things to come”.
Toyota led the market with 1977 passenger car and light commercial sales, up 11 per cent, for a 22.8 per cent share.
Toyota NZ chief executive Alistair Davis said the brand was still playing catch-up after the disasters of 2011.
The company sold just 90 HiLux utes, well short of the 300-plus normal for the month.
From top: Toyota HiLux, Ford Focus, Suzuki Swift, Hyundai i30.
“We have a lot of orders stacked up we’re not yet able to deliver, but we hope to be on top by the end of March,” he said.
“Yaris, Highlander and LandCruiser are all living hand-to-mouth – off the ship and straight to customers.”Parts sourced from Thailand are the issue with all these models, particularly as the market was growing slightly faster than expected.
“I think business capital formation is growing in transport equipment, it’s a general trend across the market,” he said.
A mere transporter-load separated the next three marques on the sales ladder, with Holden up 2.3 per cent for second on 847 registrations, Ford up 6.9 per cent for third on 842 and Hyundai up a massive 54.1 per cent with 840 sales.
Ford NZ marketing manager Chris Masterson said January deliveries were as expected despite limited supply of Focus and Ranger.
Ford has expanded the Focus line-up and expects to do well after its New Zealand Car of the Year win, while Ranger supply is gradually recovering from its Thailand hiatus with full capacity from April or May, leading into the profitable ute season around the national Fieldays in June.
As for Hyundai, its flying start to the year came after its biggest shipment for a year. Chief operating officer Tom Ruddenklau said: “When we’ve got stock we can do the numbers, and we fulfilled some dealer orders that were on hold for a couple of months.”Suzuki sales rose 34 per cent to 576 sales for fifth, largely due to a zero per cent finance promotion for January that especially benefited Swift, said sales manager Gary Collins.
Mazda figures were up 13.5 per cent to 556 vehicles, while Nissan climbed 23.4 per cent, to 475.
Mitsubishi numbers rose 4.4 per cent to 354, Volkswagen 15.8 per pent to 337 and Kia rounded out the top 10, with 248 sales, up 51.2 per cent.
New Zealand’s best-selling car was Toyota’s Corolla (826), followed by Suzuki Swift (382) and Hyundai i30 (312).
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