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NZ sales: Kiwi market remains strong

On high: Ford’s Ranger was easily the biggest-selling model in New Zealand last month, with more than 500 new registrations.

New Zealand new-vehicle sales up 7.2 per cent in April despite fewer trading days

5 May 2014

NEW Zealand new-vehicle sales continued to grow in April, with 8729 registrations marking a 7.2 per cent increase over the corresponding month a year ago.

In what was the strongest April result since 1982, 6151 passenger car sales were recorded – a rise of 4.0 per cent on April 2013 – while 2578 commercial vehicle registrations represented a 15 per cent increase, despite trading interruptions brought with public holidays including Easter and ANZAC day.

SUVs represented the lion’s share of sales with 30 per cent of the market, followed by utilities at 21 per cent and small passenger cars on 19 per cent.

Only three passenger cars made the top 10 – Toyota’s Corolla, Holden’s Commodore and the Mazda3.

It was a ute that topped the model tables in April, with Ford’s Ranger selling 513 units. Toyota’s rival HiLux (377) was next best, followed by Corolla (298), the Nissan X-Trail (238), Holden Colorado (231), Toyota HiAce (230), Commodore (217), Mazda CX-5 (198), Mazda3 (181) and Hyundai’s Santa Fe (176).

Toyota continues to lead the sales charts, despite dropping 6.3 per cent last month to 1384 sales and 15.9 per cent share.

“We had a dealer go into receivership in Lower Hutt and made no sales there,” said Toyota NZ general manager of sales and operations Steve Prangnell. “And having changed ownership in our biggest dealership (Giltrap City Toyota in Auckland) there are some settling-in, some start-up teething issues there.” The two Hutt Valley premises officially changed hands on May 1 to Wellington businessman Tim Prescott, while Wellington-based Armstrong Group, led by dealer principal and managing director Rick Armstrong, acquired two Auckland dealerships from the Giltrap Group in February (Great North Road and Mt Wellington).

 center imageFrom top: Toyota HiLux and Corolla, Nissan X-Trail, Holden Colorado and Toyota HiAce.

Giltrap City Toyota, which is now trading as Auckland City Toyota, has been selling around 80 new Toyotas per month.

Mr Prangnell said Toyota NZ was concentrating more on market share than sheer sales volume.

“We’re not always the best out of the blocks at the start of the year, but we have a strong Fieldays campaign in May-June, the start of our winter rental season in the latter part of Q2, and good fleet demand, so we’ll hold our share by year end,” he said.

Ford took second place for the month, down 0.9 per cent to 985 sales, with a resurgent Holden third, up 22.3 per cent to 915 units.

Hyundai was clearly in fourth, up 9.9 per cent to 620 units, while Mazda, up 10.1 per cent to 588, tied for fifth with Nissan, which was up 25.6 per cent for the month.

Nissan NZ managing director John Manley highlighted the new X-Trail’s position as number-one SUV in New Zealand for the month, and said more growth was expected on the back of other launches later this year.

“We’re still calling the (overall) market at a 13 per cent increase for the year, which is very, very solid, and would take us to 125,000-plus, a 30-year high,” he said.

“We’re thinking the economy is driving us along rather than politicians, and don’t expect an election-driven hit.”

Mitsubishi’s sales rose 28.1 per cent for the month to 492 units, prompted by interest in its Outlander PHEV.

“We sold 37 PHEV in our first month of retail sales in a difficult trading month – only three working days between Easter and ANZAC day dropped the market significantly during that period, and combined with school holidays there were fewer effective trading days,” said Mitsubishi NZ head of sales and marketing strategy Daniel Cook.

“We also had record web traffic with our second-biggest ever month of enquiry across our website – we were the number-one-visited manufacturer for New Zealand for that month.”

Volkswagen sales rose 16.8 per cent to 396 units last month, followed by Suzuki, down 29.2 per cent to 317, and Kia, which was down 3.7 per cent to 234 units.

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