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NZ sales: Market well down, but recovery underway

Double edge: The Ford Ranger was NZ’s biggest-selling model last month but suffered a 39.4 per cent fall compared to June last year and played its part in dragging the Blue Oval down 41.1 per cent overall.

New Zealand car sales down 17.5 per cent last month in ‘weak’ and ‘difficult’ market

2 Jul 2020

THE New Zealand Motor Industry Association (MIA) has described the new-vehicle market across the Tasman as remaining “difficult” and “weak” as the automotive sector mounts a recovery in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has pushed sales down 29.1 per cent for the year to date.


Figures released this week show that June sales fell 17.5 per cent compared to the corresponding month last year, which is markedly better than the 32.2 per cent decline recorded in May compared to a year earlier and the 90.2 per cent deficit suffered in April when the country was in full lockdown.


“The first six months of the year has been a year of two quarters,” said MIA chief executive David Crawford.


“The first quarter saw the sales of 32,833 new vehicles, while the April-to-June quarter has seen just 20,866 new registrations, a reduction of 11,967 units for the quarter.


“The month of June reflects a steady but weaker market compared to 2019. Sales of both passenger and commercial vehicles were down, confirmation the market is tightening its belt in a recession.”


The 11,514 vehicles registered in June was 2438 units fewer than recorded in the same month last year, dragged down by double-digit declines for many of the high-volume brands including market leader Toyota which fell 26.0 per cent to 1874 sales. 


The most notable exception was Kia, which continued to defy the downward trend by posting an eerily similar – yet positive – 26.0 per cent swing to 708 sales and sixth position overall, up from ninth in June last year. 


The Sportage was the South Korean brand’s best performer last month with 287 sales, second only to the Toyota RAV4 (403) in not only the all-important mid-size SUV class but across all passenger cars and SUV segments combined.


The other positive note was found among the top three best-selling premium brands, with no negative returns from Mercedes-Benz Cars (209, +8.3%), Audi (168, +4.3%) or BMW (159, 0.0%).


Holden finished second for the month with 995 sales (-18.6%) as the runout of its vehicles continued before the historic Australian lion brand goes into retirement. 


Buyers steered toward deals for the Colorado pick-up (482) that finished in third position among the top-selling models – read: utes – in the marketplace with the Ford Ranger (641) at the top of the tables and Toyota HiLux (595) in second.


Ranger’s sales performance left Ford in equal third spot overall with Mitsubishi on 868 sales, but did not prevent a 41.1 per cent decline for the Blue Oval brand in June – the deepest deficit seen among the major brands. Ranger was also down 416 units (-39.4%) compared to the 1057 racked up in June last year. 


Mitsubishi’s tally was down 24.3 per cent for the month, Mazda was next in fifth (731, -26.1%), while Kia’s forward march left Nissan in seventh (659, -12.9%) and Hyundai eighth (632, -39.5%).


Rounding out the top 10 were Suzuki (517, -9.1%) and Volkswagen (434, -7.3%), which kept their monthly deficits to single digits, while just outside the main table, the results for Honda (293, -12.0%) and Subaru (240, -14.9%) also reflected the difficult trading conditions.


Splitting the industry’s results into the major categories sees combined passenger cars and SUVs down 15.3 per cent for the month to 7411 units, while 4103 commercial vehicle registrations represented a worrying 21.2 per cent drop.


Notwithstanding utes taking up the top three positions in the marketplace, and five out of the top 10 when Mitsubishi’s Triton (390) and Nissan’s Navara (251) are factored in, Mr Crawford noted that 4x4 pick-ups/cab-chassis still only managed third in terms of market share with 17 per cent, deferring to mid-size and compact SUVs with shares of 19 and 18 per cent respectively.


A total of 131 pure-electric vehicles were also recorded in New Zealand last month, compared to 54 plug-in hybrids and 590 conventional hybrids. 


Top 10 Brands June 2020

Ranking Brand Sales Share %
1 Toyota 1874 16.3
2 Holden 995 8.6
3 Ford 868 7.5
3 Mitsubishi 868 7.5
5 Mazda 731 6.3
6 Kia 708 6.1
7 Nissan 659 5.7
8 Hyundai 632 5.5
9 Suzuki 517 4.5
10 Volkswagen 434 3.8


Top 10 Models June 2020

Ranking Model Sales
1 Ford Ranger 641
2 Toyota HiLux 595
3 Holden Colorado 482
4 Toyota RAV4 403
5 Mitsubishi Triton 390
6 Kia Sportage 287
7 Toyota HiAce 273
8 Toyota Corolla 271
9 Nissan Navara  251
10 Suzuki Swift 227


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