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NZ vehicles sales top 100,000
19 per cent jump in 2012 New Zealand new-vehicle sales outstrips predictions
9 Jan 2013
NEW Zealand new-vehicle sales jumped 19.1 per cent in 2012, topping 100,000 units and far exceeding predictions of five to six per cent made a year ago.
Kiwis bought 100,795 new vehicles, 16,155 more than in 2011, with passenger car sales rising 20.1 per cent to 76,871 and commercial vehicles volumes up 16 per cent to 23,924.
Market leader for the 25th year in a row, Toyota, provided the year’s two top-selling models – Corolla (5324) and HiLux (4182) – which were followed by the Suzuki Swift (3321), Ford Ranger (2815) and Nissan Navara (2586).
Used imports dropped 2.6 per cent to 81,927.
Motor Industry Association (MIA) CEO Perry Kerr said SUV sales now dominated the market with 26 per cent share of new-vehicle sales.
“This segment showed an impressive three per cent growth versus 2011,” he said.
Mr Kerr said December’s 6102 sales tally was the highest monthly total since 1976, the year after the MIA began collating industry numbers.
From top: Toyota HiLux Suzuki Swift Nissan Navara Ford Ranger.
Toyota capped the sales table with a 21,620 new vehicles, increasing its share of the market from 20.7 per cent in 2011 to a record 21.45 per cent last year.
Toyota general manager sales and operations Steve Prangnell said the previous highest market share was in 1988 or 1989, with 26.1 per cent on about 17,000 units.
Mr Prangell said Toyota had capitalised on its success in the government sector under the all-of-government purchasing scheme, its share of government sales topping 45 per cent.
He said Toyota expected to add a further 2000 units to its sales overall tally this year.
“We want to go above 24,000 and grow our share to over 23 per cent,” he said. “Our mid-term ambition is to be at 25 per cent market share, so one in every four cars sold is a Toyota or Lexus.
“We’ve got a full year of new Corolla, new RAV4 due with eight variants from the current five, including diesel, auto and two-wheel-drive. I want another couple of hundred Lexus and another 400 HiLux.”
Toyota predicts the NZ market will grow three to four per cent in 2013, to 104,000 or 105,000 vehicles.
Ford consolidated second place in 2012 NZ sales, up 28.6 per cent to11,132 vehicles and a small increase in share to 11 per cent.
Ford national sales manager Melissa Rushton said Ford increased its C segment share, with Focus finishing in second spot – a large increase for a new model – and Ranger upped its volume despite supply constraints.
Ms Rushton said Ford had a big year coming up in new model launches.
“So we’re looking for market share growth, with a new model in a segment we haven’t yet entered – the small SUV,” she said.
Third-placed Holden’s sales rose 17.3 per cent, to 9446 vehicles, trimming share by 0.14 per cent.
Holden managing director Jeff Murray said he anticipated a stronger performance in 2013 with a full year of refreshed Cruze, Colorado and Colorado 7, plus with Malibu and Trax arriving “our portfolio is filling the gaps we’ve had in previous years”.
And VF Commodore is coming too.
Mr Murray told GoAuto: “We’ve seen customers migrate from large cars to SUVs and smaller vehicles, and the challenge is to make them (large cars) relevant again.
“VF targets fuel economy and features, and we hope to cannibalise Ford and Toyota in that segment.”
Hyundai sales hit 7616, up 13.2 per cent on 2011, with Nissan increasing its sales by 22.3 per cent, to 6379 units, jumping ahead of Mazda whose sales rose 6.9 per cent, to 6312.
Nissan’s December sales total – 524 units – represented a 78 per cent rise over the same month in 2011.
Nissan managing director John Manley poo-poos industry gossip about top brands stockpiling pre-registered cars.
“You can’t do that forever,” he said.
Mr Manley said 2012’s sale growth was driven by fewer supply constraints, a better economy “and a lot of car purchases were postponed due to the global crisis”.
“We’re calling it around six per cent for 2013,” he said. “That’s still well ahead of economic predictions. There’s a lot of new model activity, still pent-up demand that has to be relieved as cars get too old.
“Our forecast is the currency will remain strong, so there won’t be pressure on vehicle pricing, which is in our favour.”
Nissan is poised to welcome a new Patrol in February, Pulsar sedan in March, followed by Pulsar hatch and Pathfinder.
Suzuki’s 12 per cent sales lift to 5429 retained seventh place in 2012 sales, with Mitsubishi coming eighth, up 7.6 per cent, with 5187 units.
Mitsubishi expects to break six per cent share this year end with new Outlander and Mirage boosting sales.
Volkswagen snared a13.1 per cent increase to hold ninth spot with 3905 sales, and Honda rose 15.5 per cent to 313, rounding out the top 10.
Mr Seymour said Honda NZ spent much of 2012 catching up after 2011’s natural disasters in Japan and Thailand, and the brand should regain equilibrium in 2013 with a five or six per cent lift.
“But what will happen to the overall market I don’t know,” he said.
“NZ is very much affected by world excess capacity as makers dump cars here, which drives the market up – hence some amazing deals.
“Whether market shares go up or fall will depend on strategies being run.”
Of the top three luxury brands, BMW led with 1646 sales, up 35.3 per cent, followed by Audi, up 15.7 per cent to 1540, and Mercedes, down 9.3 per cent to 1512.
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