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NZ sales: Market’s ‘bumpy ride’ continues

Class act: The RAV4 defers to the Mazda CX-5 in Australia for the number-one ranking among SUVs, but in New Zealand last month, and for the year to date, the Toyota mid-sizer is the one to beat.

NZ new-car sales fall 3.5 per cent in July, taking market down 5.2 per cent for year

5 Aug 2019

NEW Zealand’s new-vehicle market continued to soften in July, with industry figures showing sales fell 3.5 per cent compared to the corresponding month last year.


The results are still strong in historical terms given the boom times the Kiwi auto sector has enjoyed in recent years, but the 11,897 new registrations recorded last month were 427 down on July 2018 and after seven months of trading the market is now 5.2 per cent (or 4825 units) in arrears at 87,509 sales.


NZ Motor Industry Association chief executive David Crawford said the results reflected the peak industry body’s expectation that the full-year result will be behind the 161,519 cars shifted in 2018, which was its fifth consecutive annual sales record.


“The trend for 2019 is a bumpy ride but overall downwards compared to 2018,” Mr Crawford said.


The results were reflected in the market segmentation, with SUVs accounting for 42.2 per cent of overall sales last month (5023 units).


The high-riding class was dominated by the mid-sizers (2364), which stood as the number-one individual category across the board as Toyota’s RAV4 led the way (442), while 4x2 and 4x4 utilities alone (2871) took a 24.1 per cent share of the market, thanks in no small part to Ford’s Ranger holding onto its title as ‘New Zealand’s Most Wanted’ (657).


Mr Crawford said that for the year to date, SUVs and light-commercials make up 84 per cent of the market, at 43 and 41 per cent respectively, reinforcing “a fundamental change over the last five years in consumers’ preferences for vehicles”.


Wind the clock back to July 2014 and the SUV share was just 30 per cent, while passenger vehicles held sway with 42 per cent.


Comparing last month with July last year, however, produces a negative result across both of New Zealand’s broad-brush categories – passenger cars and SUVs (7925, -1.4%) and commercial vehicles (3972, -7.3%).


There were no surprises in seeing Toyota dominate the charts, although its 5.5 per cent increase in overall sales for the month, to 2185 units, went against the industry’s downward trend and those experienced by most of its major rivals.


This handed the Japanese brand a hefty 18.4 per cent market share – up from 16.8 per cent in July last year – and came as Ford sales dropped 13.5 per cent to just 1040 units and, in further contrast, left it with an 8.7 per cent share when last year it was hovering around 10 per cent.


Mitsubishi pushed up the charts to third position with 950 sales for the month, marking a 1.6 per cent decline compared to July 2018 and leaving Mazda in fourth, just four units behind on 946 (-5.7%).


Holden was also around the same mark, at 944 units, which was lineball (-0.6%) with where it was a year ago.


In sixth and seventh position respectively, Nissan and Kia were the only other two brands among the top 10 to finish on the positive side of the ledger last month, the Japanese brand on 721 units (+2.8%) and the Korean brand shifting 585 units, up an impressive 5.4 per cent.


Rounding out the top 10 were Suzuki (550, -2.1%), Hyundai (543, -3.0%) and Honda (412, -7.0%).


Volkswagen was just outside on 401 units, with Subaru further afield on 304 and Mercedes-Benz, as the top prestige brand, next on 276. Audi followed with 147 sales for the month and SsangYong was a further 10 units behind on 137.


Despite the Blue Oval brand’s disappointing month, Ranger’s top-selling status at 657 sales kept Toyota’s HiLux (534) at bay – one of three Toyotas in the top five with Corolla (500) next best and RAV4 (442) fifth.


Splitting them was Mitsubishi’s Triton (451) in fourth position for the month.


Rounding out the top 10 models was the Holden Colorado (380), Kia Sportage (302), Mazda CX-5 (288), Suzuki’s Swift – the only passenger car amid a sea of LCVs and SUVs – and the Nissan Navara (266).


NZ top 10 makes July 2019

Ranking Brand Sales Share%
1 Toyota 2185 18.4
2 Ford 1040 8.7
3 Mitsubishi 950 8.0
4 Mazda 946 7.9
5 Holden 944 7.9
6 Nissan 721 6.1
7 Kia 585 4.9
8 Suzuki 550 4.6
9 Hyundai 543 4.6
10 Honda 412 3.5

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