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NZ sales: Kiwi new-car market takes a breather

Fast track: While one-tonne utes routinely dominate the NZ market, Kia’s Sportage was the highest-selling passenger vehicle last month, upstaging Toyota’s Corolla to slot in among the big boys in the top five.

New Zealand car sales in July lineball with last year but market still booming

3 Aug 2017

THE New Zealand auto market came back down to earth last month after a sustained period of phenomenal month-on-month sales growth – usually in terms of double-digit percentage increases – with 11,631 new-vehicle registrations representing a modest 0.5 per cent gain on July last year.

Coming off an all-time record in June of almost 15,985 vehicles sold, last month’s result still represents another strong showing from the Kiwi motor industry considering July last year was yet another impressive performance in which sales rose 11.6 per cent amid a booming economy underpinned by healthy tourism and construction sectors.

After consistent monthly growth this year, New Zealand’s total sales remain on record pace with 90,737 vehicles herded out of showrooms after seven months of trading – up 12.6 per cent on the same period last year and keeping the industry on track for a full-year result that could see New Zealand break through 160,000 units, up from last year’s benchmark-setting 146,753 sales.

Combined sales of passenger cars and SUVs were down 1.0 per cent last month to 7605 units, while commercial vehicle registrations were up 4.3 per cent to 4026 as buyers continued to flock to one-tonne utilities.

The top four models in the market last month were all utes – the Ford Ranger (655), Toyota HiLux (only one unit behind on 654), Mitsubishi Triton (342) and Holden Colorado (331) – while Kia’s Sportage SUV was right behind on 330, outselling other big-hitting models such as the Mazda CX-5 (309), Mitsubishi Outlander (279), Toyota Corolla (265), Toyota RAV4 (258) and Nissan Navara (228).

Year to date, the utes are dominating with four out of the top five places as Ranger keeps HiLux at bay (5631 to 4718) and Colorado holds third position (on 2715) and Triton fifth (2472). Corolla is currently fourth overall on 2598 units.

The medium-size SUV segment was the single biggest-selling class last month with an 18.8 per cent share (2191 units), ahead of 4x4 pick-up/cab chassis (1731, 14.9%), compact SUVs (1211, 10.4%), small cars (1163, 10.0%) and 4x2 pick-ups/cc (1152, 9.9%), but you can see that with 4x2 and 4x4 utes combined they were the dominant force overall last month – and are likewise well ahead of mid-size SUVs for the year to date (22,042 versus 14,768 units).

Toyota maintained its firmly held position as market leader last month with 1820 sales, enough for a 15.6 per cent share, while Ford was in second place on 1190 sales and a 10.2 per cent share. Mazda (1017) was the only other brand above 1000 units for the month, with Mitsubishi fourth (934) and Holden fifth (887).

Nissan managed 609 sales for sixth spot and a 5.2 per cent slice of the market, while Kia (569), Suzuki (526), Honda (467) and Hyundai (462) were all within striking distance of each other.

Volkswagen (446) was just outside the top 10, while Mercedes-Benz (315), Subaru (292) and Isuzu (235) were further afield.

For the year to date, Toyota has a commanding lead with 15,637 sales (17.2% share), ahead of Ford (10,045, 11.1%), Holden (8003, 8.8%), Mazda (7030, 7.7%) and Mitsubishi (6562, 7.2%).

“Following the all-time record month of June, the July results were a little more modest but still consistent with the long-term trend of strong monthly sales,” said New Zealand Motor Industry Association (MIA) chief executive David Crawford.

“Continued strong net immigration, robust New Zealand dollar and a sturdy local economy remain the key drivers to healthy new-vehicle registrations.”

NZ Top 10 makes July 2017
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