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NZ sales: August sales the biggest since 1980s

Number one: The Ford Ranger was the most popular new vehicle in New Zealand last month.

New Zealand new-vehicles sales at levels not seen in decades

9 Sep 2013


IT WAS another booming month for New Zealand new vehicle sales in August 2013 with 9430 units sold, an increase of 15.4 per cent over the same month last year.

Commercial registrations rose 17.4 per cent to 2602 over the same period - the highest monthly total since August 1984 - while passenger sales rose 14.5 per cent to 6828, the most for the month since 1987.

Sales are, then, at a high not seen since the 1980s, thanks to a mix of a Christchurch-driven construction boom starting to hit its stride three years after the first major earthquake hit, and strong business confidence.

Toyota tops the market, its sales up 15.8 per cent to 1683. Chief executive Alistair Davis says momentum is driven by agriculture and construction, but most GDP sectors are growing.

“People who have money are being careful about how they spend it, and that’s why we’re seeing the drift toward SUV and truck as they’re multi-purpose, business as well as family life.”

Meanwhile global upheaval has so far benefitted New Zealand. Mr Davis says: “The China slowdown is obviously hurting Australia, but ironically helping us as it moves from investment-lead growth to consumer-lead growth, which is good for us as we export food to China.

“Of course if Australia slows, as it is doing, it impacts New Zealand as it and China are our two biggest markets.” Holden sits second, up 21.4 per cent to 1067, with its result primarily driven by the Australian-made Cruze. “We’re up about 83 per cent on the same time last year with the run-out offers we’ve had on model year ’13 and the intro of ’14,” says managing director Jeff Murray.

Commodore volume is up around 30 per cent on last year with the introduction of VF - a trend that reflects its strong start in Australia since launch several month ago.

Mr Murray expects continued traction for Holden with the introduction of the Barina-based Trax crossover this month.

“What has taken us by surprise is the rebound in the passenger market driven by light and medium-size cars,” he said.

The battle for the final spot on the podium is a hotly contested one, with Ford just 26 cars behind after its August figure dropped 1.6 per cent to 1041. Its Ranger ute was also New Zealand’s top-selling car, with 392 units delivered.

Mazda sits fourth, up seven per cent to 566, and Volkswagen fifth, up 63.5 per cent on 546, to continue a successful year driven largely by a price restructure that puts entry-level models alongside mass market brands.

In sixth, Hyundai sales fell 13.1 per cent to 545, followed by Mitsubishi up 34 per cent to 540 - again, Mitsubishi’s growth in New Zealand is reflected across the Tasman too.

Head of sales and marketing strategy Daniel Cook puts that down to Mirage, with 168 units of the budget city car registered.

“Last August we didn’t have Mirage in the range,” he said. “We did have a special in August, we sold over 100 in July without it. The special runs to end September, and we expect the newly-arrived Lancer GSR to boost September figures.”

Mr Cook says the unexpected continuing rise in sales means stock ordering could prove a challenge.

Nissan figures rose 15.9 per cent to 502, with Honda up 60.4 per cent to 454, reversing its July trend.

Suzuki rounded out the top 10, up 1.1 per cent to 375.

Ford’s Ranger topped model sales with 392 registrations followed by Toyota Hiliux (376) and Corolla (328), with Nissan Navara (290) and Holden Cruze (271) rounding out the top five.

New Zealand sales - August 2013
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