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NZ sales: Kiwi car sales now stalling

Podium position: Kia finished in third position overall for new-car sales in New Zealand last month, helped along by its all-new Seltos which racked up 430 sales.

MIA sees NZ market falling 4-5% this year after January sales softer than expected

5 Feb 2020

NEW Zealand’s automotive industry has started the decade with a continuing downward sales trend that kicked in last year and has now extended into 2020, with 13,078 new-vehicle registrations in January marking a 6.2 per cent decline on the corresponding month a year ago.


While commercial vehicle registrations were relatively steady, totalling 3979 units for the month to slip just 0.4 per cent, combined passenger car and SUV sales of 9099 units were down 8.5 per cent.


SUV was still the dominant category, accounting for 6432 sales as a whole (+5.8%) – 49.2 per cent of the market – and delivering three of the top four best-selling segments in mid-size SUVs (2529, +14.8%), compact SUVs (2469, +21.6%) and large SUVs (1339, -23.7%).


The 4x4 pick-up/cab-chassis class finished in third on 1874 units (-2.4%).


It comes as no surprise, then, that the top-selling models were all from these categories and from the dominant brands, led by the Ford Ranger (885) and followed by the Toyota RAV4 (569), Toyota HiLux (473) and, perhaps ominously, the all-new Kia Seltos (430) which overtook the likes of the Holden Colorado (373) and Mitsubishi Triton (366) to make a strong early impression on the marketplace.


To that end, Kia moved up from sixth place on the table of top-selling brands at this point last year to third position in the opening stanza of the new decade, the 964 units it shifted last month representing a phenomenal 35.8 per cent increase.


Kia deferred only to Toyota on 1903 sales last month – a 17.7 per cent hit for the market-leading brand that was brought back to the field, with Ford close by and in a position of some strength on 1534 units (+2.7%).


In contrast, Mitsubishi was sent marching down to fourth position (955, -23.5%), though it did hold out Holden (915, -12.2%) and Mazda (854, -29.7%).


The Australian lion brand’s position was clearly helped by having the top two vehicles in New Zealand’s all-important rental vehicle market, namely Trax (83) and Acadia (76). Throw in the Trailblazer (17) and rental sales for these three models alone accounted for 19.2 per cent of Holden’s overall volume for the month.


Further afield, and getting off to a solid start for the year, were Nissan (741, +4.7%) and Hyundai (668, +6.5%), while Suzuki held firm with the same total as January last year (597) and Honda, in rounding out the top 10, did not fare as well (413, -8.2%).


That left Volkswagen just outside the table of leading brands by a solitary unit (412, -12.9%), while Mercedes-Benz was next best, and ahead of the premium pack, on 367 sales – a 10.9 per cent increase on January 2019.


Similarly signalling a strong start to the year for the leading prestige brands, BMW recorded 237 units (+82.3%), while Audi pulled up behind it on 145 (+30.6%).


NZ Motor Industry Association chief executive David Crawford said the early indications are that the Kiwi new-car market will continue to contract throughout the course of the year.


“As expected, the new year has continued the downward trend set during 2019,” he said.


“Expectations for the 2020 year is for it to be about four to five per cent down on 2019, with the month of January coming in a bit softer than anticipated.”


Among other results for the NZ motor industry last month, 140 full-electric vehicles were sold, compared to 88 plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and 647 regular hybrids, the latter boosted by Toyota’s strong regional push to include more petrol-electric variants across its top-selling model lines.


Top 10 Brands January 2020

Ranking Brand Sales Share %
1 Toyota 1903 14.5
2 Ford 1534 11.7
3 Kia 964 7.4
4 Mitsubishi 955 7.3
5 Holden 915 7.0
6 Mazda 854 6.5
7 Nissan 741 5.7
8 Hyundai 668 5.1
9 Suzuki 597 4.6
10 Honda 413 3.1

Source: NZ MIA


Top 10 Models January 2020

Ranking Model Sales
1 Ford Ranger 885
2 Toyota RAV4 569
3 Toyota HiLux 473
4 Kia Seltos 430
5 Holden Colorado 373
6 Mitsubishi Triton 366
7 Suzuki Swift 289
8 Kia Sportage 280
9 Nissan Navara 274
10 Nissan Qashqai 270

Source: NZ MIA

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