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NZ vehicle sales keep on trucking

On a Hi: Pick-ups such as the top-selling Toyota HiLux have helped New Zealand commercial vehicle sales to a new November high.

Commercial vehicles carry New Zealand motor market to new heights in November

5 Dec 2013


NEW Zealand’s new-vehicle market continues to defy gravity by riding a wave of growing economic confidence, with sales up 21 per cent to 10,388 vehicles in November.

Commercial vehicles again led the way with a 40 per cent jump to 2935 sales – the highest commercial vehicle November tally since the Motor Industry Association (MIA) began collating numbers in 1981.

Passenger car sales also surged, up 15 per cent on the corresponding month last year to 7453 unitsMIA chief executive officer David Crawford said November was the third record monthly sales result in a row for commercial vehicles.

“If the current strong sales of commercial vehicles continue in December, it is likely we will see the best-ever total annual registrations since the MIA began collecting records in 1981,” he said.

SUVs and pickups took the lion’s share of November sales, with 26 and 19 per cent share respectively, followed by small passenger cars at 18 per cent.

Toyota’s surfing its own wave, its 2535 units marking a 43.4 per cent lift over November 2012 and 24.4 per cent share, more than second- and third-placed Ford and Holden combined.

Toyota NZ’s general manager sales and communications Steve Prangnell acknowledged his numbers were boosted when a rental company asked for nearly 300 vehicles to be pulled forward, which may depress Toyota’s December figure.

However, said: “According to our records we had our best November ever.”

Mr Prangnell cites a strong retail campaign and good results from dealers selling to private and small fleet customers.

Plus, he said, “the rental companies – not just the tier one but the second and some third tier where we’re selling used cars, underestimated the inbound tourism demand and are asking for cars to come in early, which is a good thing for New Zealand and its economy”.

“The economy remains strong, the Christchurch rebuild and Waterview (the Connection Project that will complete a motorway ring route around Auckland) are driving infrastructure, housing is going gangbusters, and there’s demand for vehicles.”

But Mr Prangnell cautions: “It can’t carry on. Our retail network is at capacity in terms of throughput and our forecast for next year is similar volume to this year, which is a pretty big market.”

Ford sold 1146 vehicles, 38.6 per cent more than the same month last year, while Holden sales were up 11.5 per cent, to 952.

Holden NZ managing director Jeff Murray said he was pleased with the VF Commodore which record sales above expectations, as well as Colorado in its run-out, despite lower rental deliveries than the same period last year.

“There’s a lot of positivity about what’s going on in NZ – retail spending, housing prices, employment growth, net migration gains,” he said. “They are all driving increased demand.”

Hyundai came fourth, down 3.3 per cent to 617, with Mazda fifth, up 2.3 per cent to 611.

Nissan followed in sixth place, up 3.2 per cent to 551 after a quiet year with a number of ageing carlines.

Nissan managing director John Manley said next year’s Nissan sales would be stronger thanks to a new X-Trail from the first quarter, a Pathfinder hybrid and Qashqai’s replacement in the second quarter, and Pulsar S sedan.

Mitsubishi lifted sales 28.9 per cent to 499, while Volkswagen cemented eighth with 476 sales, up 23.3 per cent.

Suzuki – like Hyundai – suffering from its lack of a ute and bolstered only by its still-popular Swift – fell 7.3 per cent to 381 for ninth.

Honda rounded out the top 10, lifting sales 11.5 per cent to 310, ahead of leading luxury brand Mercedes-Benz, up 70.1 per cent to 228 sales, well ahead of competitors BMW (172) and Audi (163), which don’t field commercial vehicles.

Mercedes general manager Ben Giffin said Benz sales numbers largely came from the commercial arm with a large fleet deal completed, bolstered by a good month for A- and E-Class, now both fully on stream.

Toyota’s Corolla remained New Zealand’s favourite model for the month, with 626 units, followed by Toyota HiLux (585), Ford Ranger (482), Toyota RAV4 (289) and Holden Commodore (260).

NZ Top 10 makes November 2013:
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