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Toyota pain, Hyundai gain in NZ

On the up: The Hyundai i30 helped to drive Hyundai's sales increase in New Zealand, despite stock shortages.

NZ market takes 31.8 per cent hit in first quarter

General News logo7 Apr 2009

NEW Zealand's first-quarter new-vehicle sales were down 31.8 per cent compared with last year, with Toyota hanging on to top spot despite a 40 per cent fall in sales volume.

Toyota's market share has slipped from 20.4 per cent at this time last year to 17.8 per cent after the first quarter of 2009.

In March, overall passenger car registrations were down 23.3 per cent on March 2008, although they were up 28.6 per cent up on February.

Hyundai has been the big mover, increasing its March market share from 4.65 per cent to 7.13 per cent, thanks to a nine per cent hike in sales that has elevated the Korean importer from ninth to fifth in the sales rankings.

“There’s no recession in this company,” says Hyundai NZ executive director Philip Eustace, who is hiring more staff.

In passenger cars, Hyundai sales rose 33 per cent over last March, and its share jumped from 5.83 per cent to 8.75 per cent to knock Ford from second spot Hyundai's biggest sellers were the Getz and i30, even though the latter was in short supply last month.

Used imports took the biggest hit. The 5134 March figure takes year-to-date sales to 15,185, down more than 40 per cent on the 26,926 units sold in the same period last year.

IMVDA auto industry consultant John Nicholls confirms that Russia’s departure from the Japanese used-car market has made it easier to buy – in theory.

But the exchange rate had offset that, and emissions regulations that came into force in January had slashed available cars.

80 center imageLeft: The FG Ford Falcon range. Below: Holden Berlina.

Mr Nicholls expects numbers to increase steadily as the market becomes accustomed to the new regulations, assuming no more major exchange-rate shocks.

In overall new-car sales, Ford still holds second spot behind Toyota and ahead of Holden, with Mazda fourth, just in front of Hyundai.

Ford’s YTD market share of 12.69 per cent (2286 sales), is in line with its March share, and up from its March 2008 share of 10.26 per cent.

While Ford's Falcon has been selling steadily, Holden's Commodore has slipped, taking Holden with it to third place, at 9.79 per cent share, thanks to a 40 per cent decline in sales over last year.

At 8.39 per cent, Mazda’s share rose over last year, but it has not gained ground since February.

Then comes Hyundai, with a step back to Nissan on 5.72 per cent, behind its last year's sales volumes and level pegging with February, as are Honda and Suzuki.

Suzuki's March sales were down 48 per cent on the same month last year, and its share slipped from 7.95 per cent share to 5.95 this year.

Mitsubishi sales fell 42 per cent to take its share to 3.89 share this year.

In March, Mitsubishi leveraged publicity on its i-MiEV electric car to rally slightly, with 4.8 per cent share, up on February’s 3.56 – though still a dramatic 52.5 per cent drop in volume on last year.

Volkswagen heads the Europeans, still in 10th place at 3.05 per cent, a slight drop on last month’s share and above last year.

At 18,011 overall sales, the New Zealand market was well up on February’s 11,566, consistent with the regular annual pattern – February being a short month and March the end of the financial year, when businesses use surplus money to buy cars.

But the niche marques are still suffering. The likes of Citroen, Fiat, Jeep and Volvo saw big increases over February – but massive drops from last year.

Look at Volvo: March and YTD sales figures last year were 31 and 84 this year it’s 15 and 33. Land Rover is celebrating a March 2009's rise from two vehicles in February to 19 sales, but last year it tallied 47 for a YTD of 128 – compared to 2009 YTD's 35.

Some brands are resorting to desperate measures, with new Alfa, Citroen and Fiat dealership Andrew Simms European offering a buy one, get one free deal it says has nothing to do with boosting sales numbers, but is aimed at attracting attention to the Italian brands’ arrival in Simms’ showroom.

Read more:

NZ sales struggle rolls on in February

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