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NZ Sales: Ford Ranger tops strong result

Sports star: Kia’s Sportage was the top-selling SUV – and the fourth best-selling model overall in New Zealand last month.

Light-commercial registrations hit new record as market keeps growing

NZ sales logo4 Aug 2016

By JACQUI MADELIN in NEW ZEALAND

RECORD light-commercial vehicle sales have kept New Zealand’s new-car sales buoyant for another month as Ford’s Australian-developed Ranger streaks ahead of its Toyota HiLux rival.

Total New Zealand new vehicle registrations hit 11,570 in July, up 11.6 per cent on the same month in 2015, with Motor Industry Association chief executive officer David Crawford highlighting reasons for the gains.

“The strongest net immigration on record, healthy tourism sector and a generally robust economy continues to drive sales of new vehicles beyond that expected,” he said.

While new passenger vehicle sales reached 7702 units, new commercial registrations of 3868 were the highest ever recorded for July.

That was boosted by the success of the Ranger, with Ford selling 925 units in July – well ahead of Toyota HiLux at 486 – and enough to beat both the HiLux’s June 2014 record of 847 units, and Ford’s own previous high, set in June 2016, of 835 units.

Ranger was also New Zealand’s favourite model overall, followed by the HiLux and Toyota Corolla, both on 486. Then came the Kia Sportage (378), Toyota RAV4 (326), Holden Colorado (303), Nissan Navara (254), Mazda CX-5 (217), Toyota HiAce (212), and in joint tenth position, Mazda’s BT-50 and the Mitsubishi Triton pick-ups on 208 apiece.

This meant that all but one model in the top 11 – the Corolla – was a ute or an SUV.

Toyota continues to hold a majority share of the market, up 9.1 per cent to 2024 units for the month.

Toyota NZ general manager of sales and operations Steve Prangnell said the market was heading for 140,000 units this year, which would make it the best result ever.

Mr Pragnell cited a buoyant economy, exploding inbound tourism numbers, and infrastructure business as reasons for the strong result.

“We had three of our Auckland retailers sell over 100 cars, one did 144. It’s on fire,” he said.

Mr Prangnell said that the new-car price index is continuing to fall in terms of weeks of disposable income needed to buy a car.

According to Infometrics, total consumer price index (CPI) in the period December 2012 to June 2016 is up 3.1 per cent, while the price of new cars has dropped 9.9 per cent over the same period.

Ford sales were up by 48.8 per cent to 1550, making for “a cracking month,” according to the company’s general marketing manager Cameron Thomas.

He said supply is now arriving in the country to enable dealers to fill orders they have not been able to supply for the past few months when deliveries were tight.

Mr Thomas said that Ford was doing well in part because of fresh product that is “heavily influenced in terms of design development for a market similar to ours, coming out of an Australian environment, plus changes to marketing perspective and good interest through dealer offers, plus a fantastic dealer network at the coalface”.

He added that supply of all model lines, except for the Ranger, has been good, and that he expects more consistent deliveries for the rest of the year.

There is now a clear gap to third-placed Holden, up 0.8 per cent — or eight units — to 980 registrations.

GM Holden NZ general manager of sales Sean Tupp said Holden was slightly ahead of target for July.

“We are on model runout for a few lines, including Colorado and Cruze, and we’re juggling end-of-life vehicles,” he said.

However, Mr Tupp said that the company’s targets are now ramping up as the updated Colorado ute launches in September, followed by the Trailblazer – formerly the Colorado 7 – in October, with the new-generation Astra five-door hatch in November and the Cruze sedan replacement early next year.

Mr Tupp said all that means that from next month, he expects an increase in volume for Holden.

He added that the overall market has thrown up some surprises in 2016.

“It has certainly gone against our initial forecast, everyone has been proven wrong. It’ll be another growth year, and a record one if it keeps up at this rate.”

Next was Mazda, up 2.6 per cent to 894, followed by Nissan, up 23 per cent to 721 units.

Nissan NZ managing director John Manley said stock availability was influencing numbers for many car-makers in New Zealand this year, but that overall, “the market is defying gravity”.

“The ute market is running hot and strong, just about every tradesperson in New Zealand looks as if he’ll be busy for the rest of his life.”

Property values and perceived equity in private homes are boosting sales too, according to Mr Manley.

“We’ve always talked about the motor car as a barometer of the nation’s psyche, and it’s very good.”

Mr Manley said Nissan would be growing faster if the company could secure more examples of the popular X-Trail and Qashqai SUVs.

He said he expects no major new models this year, adding, “we just want more of what we’re selling”.

Hyundai’s strong SUV line-up helped it overcome its handicap – a lack of a light-commercial ute – with numbers up 6.6 per cent to 642, while Mitsubishi lifted 3.6 per cent to 626.

Kia rose 111.3 per cent to 598, of which 378 were examples of the Sportage, which was second on the passenger model table for the month.

Suzuki increased sales by 15.1 per cent, to 412, Volkswagen rounded out the top 10, the only one to drop, by 19.8 per cent to 328, just two units ahead of Honda.

NZ Top 10 makes July 2016
RankMakeSales% Share
1Toyota202417.49
2Ford155013.39
3Holden9808.47
4Mazda8947.72
5Nissan7216.23
6Hyundai6425.54
7Mitsubishi6265.41
8Kia5985.16
9Suzuki4123.56
10Volkswagen3282.83

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