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NZ sales: Commercial vehicles drag sales down
‘Worrying’ sign for NZ car sector as commercial sales fall for fifth month in a row
5 Mar 2020
By TERRY MARTIN
COMMERCIAL vehicle sales dragged down the New Zealand motor market last month, falling 14.4 per cent and sending a ripple through the Kiwi automotive industry that weakening business confidence could be setting in.
Only 3527 commercial vehicles were sold across New Zealand in February, which was offset to some degree by growth in combined passenger car and SUV sales at 7911 units, up 4.4 per cent.
Overall, that left the new-vehicle market with 11,438 new vehicles registered, down 2.2 per cent over February last year.
For the year to date, the second successive monthly decline and the ninth over the past 10 months now sees the Kiwi motor market down 4.3 per cent on 24,502 units.
Noting the mixed results between commercial vehicles and passenger cars/SUVs, NZ Motor Industry Association chief executive David Crawford said: “While it was pleasing to see the passenger and SUV market remain strong, it is worrying that the commercial sector continues to be down – the fifth month in a row.”
New Zealand relies heavily on light-commercial vehicles, with the Ford Ranger (728, +4.1%) and the Toyota HiLux (580, -15.5%) both stationed as the two top-selling models across the board last month (and year-to-date), with Toyota’s RAV4 SUV in third (419, +586.9%) and Mitsubishi’s Triton in fourth (342, -32.3%).
Pick-ups/cab-chassis (4x2 and 4x4 combined) was the single biggest segment last month with 2660 sales, accounting for 23.3 per cent of the market, yet this was down 15.0 per cent on February last year.
Other categories such as vans (426, -5.5%) and heavy commercial vehicles (310, -26.4%) were also in the red, although the lower-volume light buses were a notable exception (60, +150%).
As is often the case, there were some eerily similar results among the major brands in New Zealand compared to the Australian market, with Toyota and Kia recording solid growth amid the general gloom, and Holden divebombing during a month in which it delivered the devastating news that it was pulling up stumps this year in both Australia and New Zealand.
Market leader Toyota NZ’s 1892 sales in February was 17.0 per cent ahead of the corresponding month last year, although its share of 16.5 per cent put it closer to the field than Toyota Australia’s 22 per cent stranglehold.
Ford was in second position and holding relatively firm on 1222 sales, down 1.0 per cent on February last year and holding a 10.7 per cent share, while Mitsubishi in third posted a 5.0 per cent improvement with 1106 new registrations.
Mitsubishi occupied three of the top six positions among the leading models, with Triton joined by Outlander (304) and ASX (291), although sales of the two key SUVs were down 43.0 and 45.6 per cent respectively. ASX was also the number-one vehicle among rental fleets last month, with 140 sales.
Further down the line, Mazda (794, -16.8%) kept its nose in front of Kia to hold fourth position as the fast-growing South Korean brand turned in another solid performance with 751 sales – up 29.5 per cent and buoyed by the all-new Seltos small SUV, which added 281 units and came in seventh position overall.
Nissan finished sixth on 674 sales (-2.3%), ahead of Hyundai (610, +1.0%), Suzuki (496, -15.5%) and a disappointing Holden, which managed only 457 units for the month (-46.1%) as the runout of the brand’s remaining stock gets underway.
Honda rounded out the top 10 with 415 sales, down 18.9 per cent on February last year, while Volkswagen (395, -7.7%) and Subaru (295, -1.3%) sat outside the main table.
The next three positions overall marked the first three placegetters among the premium brands, with Mercedes-Benz (250, +9.6%) ahead of BMW (144, -11.7%) and Audi (142, +18.3%).
Other points of interest in the New Zealand market last month included the sale of alternative-powertrain vehicles, which stood at 124 pure-electric models, 113 plug-in hybrids and 551 regular hybrids.
Mid-size SUVs performed strongly with 2288 sales, accounting for 20 per cent of the market and climbing 16.7 per cent over February last year. Compact SUVs had a similar slice of the action (19.5%) with 2231 units sold, up 25.5 per cent.
Top 10 Brands February 2020
Source: NZ MIA
Top 10 Models February 2020
Source: NZ MIA
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