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NZ Sales: New vehicle sales growth slows

Broad range: New Zealand's favourite one-tonner is the Ford Ranger, which kept arch rival Toyota HiLux at bay by just 12 sales.

Registrations settle at record levels, but growth losing momentum

7 Aug 2015


WHILE New Zealand’s year-to-date sales of new vehicles remain at a record high and 4.8 per cent up over the same period in 2014, month by month growth is showing signs of slowing.

Speaking to GoAuto, Motor Industry Association CEO David Crawford said registrations of new commercials were down 4.6 per cent in July compared with the same point in 2014, reflecting general economic indicators elsewhere in the economy.

At the other end of the spectrum the news is better, with total new-vehicle registrations rising 0.5 per cent for the month – or 53 vehicles – to 10,336, the strongest July since 1986.

Passenger-car registrations rose 2.8 per cent to 7272, while new commercial registrations dropped 4.6 per cent to 3094, with Toyota the leading brand at 22 per cent market share, followed by Ford at 17 per cent and Holden at 11 per cent share.

Used-import registrations rose 15.5 per cent to 14,697 in July.

New Zealand’s favourite models were, unsurprisingly, the Ford Ranger totaling 460, Toyota’s HiLux (448), Toyota Corolla (352), Holden Colorado (300) and Toyota RAV4 (288), followed by the Mazda CX-5 (241), Nissan Navara (238), Toyota Hiace (213), Mazda3 (201) and Suzuki Swift (197).

SUVs and utes represented more than half the market, with SUVs at 35 per cent and utes at 21 per cent, while small passenger cars were third, at 13 per centToyota continues to reign atop the table, up 11.5 per cent to 1856 for 17.9 per cent share in July, while arch rival Ford came in second at 1042, up 3.9 per cent, and Holden third at 972, down 16 per cent.

Consistently popular Japanese brand Mazda sold 871 vehicles, growing 19.8 per cent for its 26th consecutive month of year-on-year increases.

Mazda New Zealand managing director Andrew Clearwater said the company’s strength lay in a recently refreshed or new passenger model line-up, bolstered by the all-new CX-3 competing in a new segment for the brand.

“With launch of MX-5 this month and a freshened BT-50 to follow, we believe interest in our brand will remain despite a slowdown in sales in some sectors of the country,” he said. Auckland and Waikato sales – both key markets – remain strong.

Mitsubishi sales rose marginally, by 1.9 per cent to 604 registrations, while Hyundai dropped 1.3 per cent. Managing director Andy Sinclair pointed out sales are almost on a par with 2014 despite cutting rental sales from 431 this time last year to 177, “clearly we have more private buyers, which is great,” he said.

Mr Sinclair explained that with more six and nine month rental terms, relatively high-mileage-for-age cars returning early to the market could damage customer’s residual values.

Nissan sales fell 16.9 per cent to 586 and Nissan New Zealand managing director John Manley said the latest dairy auction saw prices fall a further 10 per cent, which will have a negative impact on the market. Offsetting that, NZ’s depreciating dollar will boost tourism, which could drive further rental sales.

Volkswagen sales rose 2.5 per cent to 409, with Honda and Suzuki rounding out the top 10, both on 358 registrations. Honda's growth slowed to15 per cent and Suzuki's also fell to 11.6 per cent.

As for the premium brands, Audi was down 22.6 per cent with 130 registrations, BMW climbed 10.2 per cent to 162 and Mercedes is up 27 per cent to 240 – as the only one of the German triumvirate to also sell commercials.

Premium-brand figures reflect upcoming market trends, and Audi New Zealand general manager Dean Sheed told GoAuto that growth slowed from January, leading the mass market. He said the drop in dairy prices, the fall in the NZ dollar and a rise in unemployment all have an impact.

“It’s a cyclical downturn that started in the provincial rural economy, and will take time to correct as globally economies start growing again,” he said.

NZ Top 10 makes July 2015
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