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NZ Sales: June marks highest sales since 1982
Second-highest month on record keeps NZ YTD new-vehicle sales growth steady
6 Jul 2016
By JACQUI MADELIN in NEW ZEALAND
LAST month was the second-highest month for new-cars sales on record in New Zealand and the strongest June since 1982, further contributing to continued steady year-to-date growth.
Motor Industry Association chief executive officer David Crawford confirmed that there have been 69,057 new vehicles registered year to date, compared with 65,653 last year, an increase of 3404, or 5.2 per cent.
“Those distributors that attended the annual (New Zealand National Agricultural) Fieldays reported healthy demand for new vehicles,” he said.
Mr Crawford added that key drivers of demand included record levels of net immigration, a healthy trade sector and strong business confidence.
That 5.2 per cent growth remains just ahead of early predictions for the year, and has been backed up by strong SUV and ute sales.
New Zealand’s best-seller so far this year is the Ford Ranger, with 4000 sales, followed by Toyota HiLux on 3263.
The Toyota Corolla (2078) grabbed third spot, followed by the Holden Colorado (3263) and Mitsubishi Triton (1681).
Toyota’s RAV4 (1636), the Nissan Navara (1508), Mazda CX-5 (1423), Kia Sportage (1365) and Suzuki Swift (1303) rounded out the top 10 best sellers to the end of June.
Rental favourites so far this year are Toyota Corolla (636), Toyota Highlander (571), Toyota RAV4 (511), Mazda3 (255) and Holden Commodore (248).
Toyota leads the market overall year to date, with 11,583 sales, down 1.1 per cent from the same period the year before.
But with an increased national focus on electric and plug-in electric vehicles, and as Charge Net NZ continues to roll out its national fast-charging network, June’s launch of the hybrid Corolla and the announcement of more hybrids to come – specifically RAV4 – plus the official import of used plug-in Prius’ under the Toyota banner means the brand expects to ride the alternative-energy wave ahead of its competitors as the year rolls on.
Ford numbers rose 27.6 per cent to 8230, with the Mustang pony car still delivering a glow for the brand as the popular Ranger ute drives out the door at the top of the sales tables.
GM Holden sales dropped 10.7 per cent on the first six months of 2015 to 6212 – almost cancelling out the 2015 to 2014 rise of 10.7 per cent for the same period – while Mazda sales rose 12.4 per cent to 5434.
Mitsubishi figures were up 5.4 per cent to 4519, and Hyundai’s down 5.8 per cent to 4200.
Nissan sales fell 2.4 per cent to 4082, but the company’s NZ managing director John Manley pointed out that this time last year sales benefitted from a run-out campaign for the D40 Navara, adding “the ute market has gone berserk, it’s making up around 25 per cent of the market”.
Mr Manley said there were ongoing supply issues for the Qashqai and X-Trail, Nissan’s two biggest-selling SUVs, and heated competition in the ute market as Toyota battles to regain supremacy for its HiLux.
He said that the market continued to defy gravity and highlighted favourable finance rates and a strong domestic economy as just some of the reasons behind strong sales.
“Once you get past dairy, which everyone gets stuck up on, the market is pretty damn buoyant,” he said.
“And if anyone wants to buy a ute, now’s the time to do it. There’s some good product, and some very good deals.”
Suzuki sales rose 17 per cent to 2668, with the brand’s general manager of marketing Gary Collins citing the recently launched Vitara crossover as the key to its growth.
“Given dairy and the drop in the dollar value we were cautions about growth, but it’s up, and SUV especially at the expense of conventional passenger cars,” he said.
Mr Collins says Suzuki Swift sales have risen four per cent, the rugged Jimny was up 32 per cent after a refresh 18 months ago, and the Celerio city car has also risen, while S-Cross and Grand Vitara sales have fallen.
However the Vitara and the newly-arrived Vitara Turbo have given the brand a shot in the arm, and Mr Collins said the company hoped to capitalise on that with a new Baleno small hatch arriving in the coming months.
Volkswagen sales fell 10.7 per cent to 2540, followed by Kia – the success story of the top 10 – which grew by 57.2 per cent over the first six months of 2015 from 1578 to 2481 sales.
Kia NZ general manager Todd McDonald credited the latest Kia Sportage mid-size SUV for the increase, since its February launch.
“Our other models are all within expected parameters for the first half, but Kia brand awareness and acceptance within the New Zealand market has increased,” he said.
Mr McDonald said he expected Kia momentum to continue at similar rates, and did not anticipate problems with supply.
He says that with increased tourism and New Zealanders returning to the country, new-vehicle demand will continue.
“And we’re seeing indications that people buying a new house are including a car in the purchase, so we are expecting sales over the next six months to continue at a similar level.”
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