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New Zealand vehicle sales jump 12.2 per cent
Kiwi car industry has best year since 1984, with 113,117 vehicles sold in 2013
13 Jan 2014
By JACQUI MADELIN in New Zealand
NEW Zealand new-vehicle sales reached 113,117 in 2013, giving the motor industry its best result since 1984.
This represented a rise of 12.2 per cent, almost double industry predictions at the start of the year.
The 30,822 commercial vehicle total was the highest since the Motor Industry Association (MIA) began collecting data in 1981.
Sales of two-wheel-drive utes were up 48 per cent on 2012, and sales of heavy vehicles of more than 15 tonnes rose 36 per cent, to 2343.
Used imports registrations also rose 28.4 per cent for the year, to 105,065 units.
MIA chief executive officer David Crawford said a number of factors had contributed to the strong new-vehicle demand, including as the Christchurch earthquake rebuild, strong Auckland regional economy, growing strength of the NZ economy and the high New Zealand dollar.
He said these had resulted in businesses having the confidence to replace big-ticket items.
Mr Crawford said 2013 would be remembered as the year the NZ economy finally left the starting line on the path to economic recovery from a number of setbacks, including the 2008-09 financial crisis, the 2011 floods in Thailand and 2011 tsunami in Japan.
Toyota’s sales growth did not keep pace with the industry, but its year-end total marked its 26th consecutive year at the top of the table. Its sales rose 9.6 per cent rise to 23,705 (16,172 passenger and 7533 commercials) for 21 per cent share.
Toyota NZ general manager sales and operations Steve Prangnell said the strong economy, strong business confidence, strong commodity prices and the support infrastructure around the Christchurch rebuild was helping industry and government to hit its straps.
“We predict the market will settle around where it’s at, with up to around 3.0 per cent growth, and we plan to hold and consolidate share,” he said.
Mr Prangnell said that was in line with Toyota’s global strategy, and he said he was confident of hitting that target given the arrival of a new-model Corolla sedan and new Highlander in 2014, plus a facelifted HiLux freshly on sale.
Ford sat second in the 2013 sales rankings, up 15.3 per cent to 12,839 for 11.4 per cent share, thanks to Ranger – up 75 per cent alone, and Kuga, which added 1000 units of incremental sales.
From top: Ford Ranger, Toyota HiLux, Toyota RAV4 and Suzuki Swift.
Ford NZ managing director Corey Holter said 2014 GDP growth was predicted to be 3.4 per cent, and he said he expected the new-vehicle market would keep pace.
“We have a new entry with the EcoSport small SUV to add incremental volume, so we plan to increase both volume and share, and out-perform the market,” he said.
Mr Holter said he did not see ute demand dropping “thanks to the dairy payout and the strength of the rural economy”.
Holden sales lifted 24.1 per cent to 11,722 for third place and 10.4 per cent share. Managing director Jeff Murray said Holden launched 12 new variants or model upgrades over 2013 “which was the key driver for us”.
Mr Murray said he expected Holden to match a market growth of around 3.0 per cent in 2014.
“We will have some upgrades but no major sheetmetal or platform changes,” he said.
“(But) Trax and VF Commodore were only in the market for half a year, and with a full year of new product we expect to grow our volume.”
Hyundai sales nudged up 1.9 per cent to 7762 and 6.9 per cent share, its sales hamstrung by the absence of a ute in the line-up, as well as supply issues.
Hyundai general manager Andy Sinclair told GoAuto he expected the market to lift five or six per cent, with Hyundai also growing with the arrival of Genesis and a new i45, which might return the Sonata badge to the line-up.
Mazda was fifth, up 12.5 per cent to 7101, at 6.3 per cent share, with managing director Andrew Clearwater expressing optimistism about 2014: “We’re confident as we have an all-new Mazda3 launching in February and Mazda2 due for replacement in the coming year.
“Exchange rates and the price of used cars have made it attractive for buyers of top-end used cars to move into new.
“Everyone’s talking up the New Zealand economy but we have an election year and the industry does slow down a bit then, especially if it’s close, as it will be.”
Nissan sales almost levelled out, with 0.4 per cent growth for 6405 sales and 5.7 per cent share.
Nissan managing director John Manley said he saw capacity for growth, given that New Zealand’s population was 3.25 million in 1985 and 4.5 million last year.
He said used imports had largely filled that gap, “but for the second year in a row, new cars have outpaced imports, which they haven’t otherwise done since 1994”.
He said he anticipated a good year for Nissan, with new X-Trail due in April and new Qashqai, “both core models in a strong segment”.
Seventh-placed Mitsubishi’s sales rose 15.8 per cent to 6005 units, representing a 5.3 per cent share, with head of sales and marketing strategy Daniel Cook predicting six per cent growth for 2014.
“We’re already seeing strong retail demand reported from our dealers and had strong sales right through Christmas and New Year when normally they dry up completely, which tells me consumer spending is in good health and there’s confidence in the year ahead,” he said.
Volkswagen sales topped 5000 for the first time, up 33.6 per cent – or 1314 vehicles – to reach 5219 sales and 4.6 per cent market share.
VW was followed by Suzuki, down 11.3 per cent to 4818, and 4.3 per cent share, despite its success with Suzuki Swift – fourth on the model tables.
Honda rounded out the top 10 after a lacklustre year delivered 3.7 per cent growth for 3123 sales and 2.8 per cent market share.
Mercedes dominated the luxury brands thanks to its commercial line-up, the total reaching 2049, to BMW’s 1907 and Audi’s 1820. All three grew ahead of the market trend.
Corolla bucked a trend to take the model crown – SUVs now make up 27 per cent of the New Zealand market, on 30,478 registrations, with small cars selling 19 per cent (21,511) just ahead of pick-ups (21,236).
Corolla achieved 5993 sales, followed by Toyota’s HiLux (5041) and Ford’s Ranger (4924).
Then came the Suzuki Swift (2968), Holden Commodore (2761), Toyota RAV4 (2739), Nissan Navara (2690), Holden Colorado (2454) and Toyota Yaris (2384), with Holden’s Captiva rounding out the top 10 on 2262, just one vehicle ahead of Toyota’s Hiace on 2261.
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