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NZ sales: Boom across the Tasman rolls on

Strong seller: The Corolla was New Zealand's favorite car in October, with five of the top-ten best sellers wearing Toyota badges.

New Zealand vehicle sales maintain their momentum in October

NZ sales logo5 Nov 2013


NEW Zealand new-vehicle sales numbers are pushing figures not seen since the mid-1980s, when regulatory changes opened the market to used imports.

According to the latest data, 10,696 new vehicles were sold in October, up 1308 units (or 13.9 per cent) on October 2012. The numbers indicate the market has not only recovered from the effects of the recession, plus supply issues from Japan, but surged ahead.

A familiar theme this year echoed last month was the continued boom in the commercial sector.

“In the month of October, new commercial vehicle registrations were 2734, the highest October new commercial registrations since the MIA began collecting records in 1981,” said Motor Industry Association CEO David Crawford.

“It’s the second month in a row that records have been the highest since records began.”

Toyota continues its 25-year domination of the market, with 2644 sales in October putting it up 217 units, a rise of 8.9 per cent and enough to capture 24.9 per cent market share.

The top-selling car was the Corolla, which tallied a substantial 963 sales, while five of the top 10 nameplates on the market – Corolla, Hilux, Yaris, RAV4, and Hiace – were Toyotas.

General manager sales and operations of Toyota NZ Steve Prangnell said the Corolla’s figure was a combination of “about 380 rentals, strong government sales and our first full new year of new Corolla”.

“Because of the breadth of our model range, we’re under pressure in every segment, chasing Swift in small car, Camry and Mondeo have been trading blows...(and) Hilux and Ranger are going head-to-head in light truck.”

A facelifted HiLux will arrive on local soil in December.

Mr Prangnell said he didn’t expect the same growth in 2014, telling us that “I don’t think the infrastructure of the brands can support this level of growth”.

Ford sat in second place, up 14.9 per cent to 1366 sales, with Holden third, up 32.4 per cent to 1205 vehicles.

Fourth-placed Hyundai sold 611 cars, down 2.6 per cent on October 2012, with Mazda fifth, up 24.3 per cent to 594.

Mitsubishi ended up sixth, up 41.5 per cent to 522 sales, marking 46 months of consecutive year-on-year improvements.

“We had an extraordinary September primarily thanks to Lancer and Outlander, and in October those two models again had a great month,” said general manager sales and marketing Warren Brown.

“Outlander now has critical mass with a high level of acceptance in fleet.” Mr Brown said the car market didn’t seem to be tailing off, which is “at odds with other parts of the economy,” partly due to delayed fleet replacements all coming together, and partly thanks to a strong primary sectors which boost LCV sales.

Volkswagen holds seventh, up 25 per cent to 445, followed by Nissan which dropped 23.4 per cent to 393, with managing director John Manley citing his brand’s need for new models to attract dealer traffic in a hyper-competitive market.

He expects the arrival of Pathfinder late last month and Altima this month, along with two new dealers in Auckland – the country’s biggest market – to revitalise his brand.

Meantime, Mr Manley predicts the industry as a whole will end 2013 on the highest number since 1984.

“Thirty per cent growth in two years is colossal, and the economy is only growing about three per cent per year,” he said.

“Property values have gone up so much that a lot of people have seen a dramatic increase in their equity, at least on paper, so they feel as if they have more money, they feel more confident and they spend more.”“The luxury and premium market is going very strongly too, and that’s another indicator of confidence in the immediate future, and anything connected to dairying is unbelievable.

The world has a shortage of dairy products and an increasing appetite for dairy products, commodity prices are really good.”

Asked if this level of growth is sustainable, he said the local new car market was “half that of Australia on a per capi.

“There is the potential for the market to rise to a couple of hundred thousand.

The new cars arriving, the retail pricing is not increasing but the level of specification, the quality, the variety and breadth of choice is increasing enormously and so new cars are an attractive proposition — but in the middle the import market always throws a spanner in.”

Rounding out the top 10, Suzuki sales declined 26.1 per cent to 320 vehicles to stay ahead of Honda on 278 sales, up 3.7 per cent.

Toyota’s Corolla was the month’s top-selling model with 963 sales, followed by Ford Ranger (478), Toyota Hilux (396), Holden Commodore (357) and Toyota Yaris (325).

NZ Top 10 makes October 2013
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