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NZ Sales: Biggest January on record

Old favourite: The Holden Captiva may be 11 years old, but there is still interest in the seven-seat SUV in New Zealand.

High immigration, low cost of debt, strong economy drive NZ sales

6 Feb 2017


LAST month marked the strongest start to the year in New Zealand’s new-car market history, with strong sales across both passenger and commercial sectors according to official figures released by the Motor Industry Association.

The new-vehicle sales tally hit 13,823 units, up 16.2 per cent – or 1930 units – on January 2016.

Passenger registrations were up 14 per cent, or 1251 units, on the same month in 2016, wile commercial vehicle sales rose 23 per cent to 3673.

Toyota continued its long reign at the top, up 4.4 per cent to 2342. It led both passenger and SUV registrations, although Ford heads the commercial sector, thanks in part to Ranger’s continued success.

Ranger was New Zealand’s top model for the month, with 741 units, followed by the Toyota Corolla (590), Toyota RAV4 (556), Toyota HiLux (447) and Holden Captiva (362).

Following this was the Holden Colorado (360), Holden Commodore (348), Suzuki Swift (343), Kia Sportage (340) and Nissan Navara (270).

Toyota’s RAV4 was the top-selling rental for January, with 418, followed by Toyota Corolla at 387, Holden Commodore at 234, and Holden Captiva at 197 – for all these models, rental sales made up more than half the model’s overall tally.

Holden Cruze (152), Holden Trax (130), Suzuki Siwft (92), Mitsubishi ASX (80), Toyota Camry (67) and Hyundai i30 (62) completed the rental top 10.

Holden grabbed second on the overall table, up 41.8 per cent to 1764 sales, with the company’s general manger of sales Sean Tupp describing the result as “a bit of a surprise”.

“We were expecting a lift, but not this big,” he said. “Our fast start with our one per cent finance offer seems to have hit the spot, though other competitors are in that space.”

Mr Tupp also cited recent product updates, including the facelifted Barina, and increased Colorado supply, which has been restricted.

Mr Tupp said he was expecting new product, including the Astra five-door hatch this month, and he noted more interest in the Commodore.

“Our motorsport edition created a fair bit of interest, and with limited edition models we predict a lift in Commodore volume based on its last year of production.”

Ford was third, up 8.4 per cent to 1566. Ford NZ general marketing manager Cameron Thomas said the brand had hit its objectives for the month, with Ranger still doing well and both the Focus and the Escape id-size SUV – in its first full month – also showing a strong result.

Mr Cameron said he does not see any signs the market will drop off: “It may even be bigger than we were calling, as there’s no real reason for it to drop away,” he said.

“We just had a bunch of launch activity, and are relaunching our primary brands with material going out this week, plus we have Escape now in one of the largest segments, a good opportunity for us where Kuga didn’t quite hit the mark.”

Mazda sales dipped 2.9 per cent to 933, while Mitsubishi rose 54.6 per cent to 866, Nissan sales lifted 4.0 per cent to 754, and Suzuki sales climbed 92.9 per cent to 731.

Suzuki NZ general manager of marketing Tom Peck predicted that the 2017 trend would continue from 2016, unless the general election has an impact.

As for Suzuki’s performance, as well as introducing new models late in the year, runout of current Swift pushed sales, and strong finance deals assisted the private sales which make up most of Suzuki’s tally, this month boosted by some fleet deals.

Mr Peck said he hoped to sell an additional 1000 cars in 2017.

“We hope the newly launched Ignis will add 800 cars to our total, along with new Swift this year, which – with Swift being so strong for us – we hope will give us a lift toward the end of the year.”

Hyundai’s tally dropped 3.6 per cent to 608, just above Kia, its 603 total sales marking the biggest top-10 rise, the Korean brand up 127.5 per cent over January 2016.

Volkswagen rounded out the top 10 with January growth of 28.9 per cent, to 597.

Motor Industry Association CEO David Crawford predicted a steady economic environment for 2017, with very little to rock the sales growth boat bar the next election, called for September 23, 2017.

NZ Top 10 makes January 2017
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