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NZ sales: Kiwi market in boom times
New vehicle sales go from strength-to-strength in New Zealand
8 Apr 2014
By JACQUI MADELIN in New Zealand
NEW Zealand vehicle registrations continue to rise at a greater rate than predicted, with year-to-date sales to March 31 up 15.5 per cent to 30,879 units.
March alone tallied an 18 per cent rise over the same month in 2013, and was the strongest figure since 1984, according to Motor Trade Association (MTA) CEO David Crawford.
That was just before the used import market opened up and eclipsed new-car sales (until 2008). The year-to-date used import figure is also up, growing 38.1 per cent to 28,872.
“This result shows that New Zealanders are continuing to take advantage of our strong dollar backed by confidence in the economy to replace their vehicles,” Mr Crawford said.
New Zealand’s favourite model so far this year is Toyota’s Corolla, with 1441 sales, followed by the Ford Ranger (1171),Toyota Hilux (1126) and Nissan Navara, with Suzuki’s Swift rounding out the top five.
Toyota continues to lead the market, though its sales are down 4.8 per cent since the same period in 2014 to 4494 units and for 16.1 per cent market share.
Ford sales rose 32 per cent to 3284 for second – leapfrogging Holden, which was second last year – and increasing share to 10.6 per cent year-to-date.
Ford NZ managing director Corey Holter said: “The economic fundamentals are still there. Consumer and business confidence are at or near record highs, and immigration is a factor – a lot of that is re-immigration, Kiwis returning from Australia as economic fortunes are now better here, and a lot have made some money”.
Holden is still up 12 per cent to 2929 for 9.4 per cent share while Hyundai also rose 19.7 per cent to hit 2282 for 7.3 per cent share.
From top: Ford Ranger, Toyota HiLux, Nissan Navara and Suzuki Swift.
The Korean car-maker’s NZ managing director Andy Sinclair said supply of the iLoad van played a role in the upward trend, while the political issues in Russia meant some stock had been re-directed to New Zealand.
In fifth, Nissan rose 4.8 per cent to 2068 for 6.6 per cent of the market.
Managing director John Manley said the strong March numbers across the whole market had “flattened” everyone.
“It was unbelievable. It doesn’t matter where you look there were a lot of positives. The New Zealand dollar is way up, our export earnings are still fantastic, the economy is buoyant. Business is booming, farming is booming and that all flows down. There’s a lot of new product about too, with fantastic specification and well priced. Interest rates are reasonably low and house values remain up, so equity is up.”
Things should keep on keeping on for the company, with the all-new X-Trail on sale this week, the new Qashqai in July – “our only concern is its sales are so good in Europe we may have to delay its launch”, said Mr Manley – and new Navara arriving late in the year.
Mazda was up 11.8 per cent to 1977 units, Mitsubishi up 31.7 to 1965 and Suzuki up 5.9 to 1471 sales.
Volkswagen’s meteoric rise since Amarok took it into a new and popular bracket – utes take 18 per cent of the market – and rejigged prices that pitted it against mass-market brands, is levelling out, though sales were still up 11.5 per cent to 1408Honda rounded out the top 10, up 26.1 per cent to 957, its highest first quarter since 2009 for its last month with Graeme Seymour at the helm, after 12 years as managing director. New MD, Mr Nobuya Sonoda, has been with Honda New Zealand for over 12 years.
He cites two new television advertisements for March’s sales boost, and expects further sales injections from a Jazz upgrade in the second quarter, an Accord hybrid and an Odyssey update.
Overall the industry is largely adjusting forecasts upwards.
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