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NZ sales: New-vehicle market steadies in February
Kiwi market claws back some lost new-vehicle volume in second-best February yet
7 Mar 2019
NEW Zealand’s new-vehicle market began to steady in February after a slow January, with the second month of the year’s 11,699 sales representing a 1.5 per cent increase over the corresponding month in 2018.
With January’s volume (13,938 units) down 6.0 per cent, the decline in year-to-date sales (25,637) has now slowed to 3.7 per cent on the back of the second-strongest February result on record, behind 2017 (11,785).
“The outturn for February 2019 was pleasing,” said NZ Motor Industry Association (MIA) chief executive David Crawford. “It indicates the market, while not growing, is steady as she goes.”
Sales of passenger cars and SUVs were up 2.2 per cent, to 7580 units combined, while light-commercial vehicles flatlined, with volume up just 0.1 per cent, to 4119 units.
In a sign of the times, mid-size SUVs were again the most popular type of new vehicle, with a 16.8 per cent market share, followed by pick-up/cab-chassis 4x4s (15.8%) and small SUVs (15.2%).
Despite its volume declining last month by an uncharacteristic 17.5 per cent, Toyota led all other brands from the front with its 1617 sales and 13.8 per cent market share.
The Japanese marque’s HiLux ute (686 units, -2.4%) had to settle for second position, though, just behind its key rival, Ford’s Ranger (699, -4.9%), in the list of best-selling models.
The only other model in the top 10 from brand T was Corolla, which came in at ninth with 235 sales (-8.9%), of which 39 were sold to rental companies in a slow month for the rent-a-car sector.
Largely thanks to its ute’s success, the Blue Oval was the second most popular brand, with its 1234 sales up 4.2 per cent.
An improved Mitsubishi (1053 units, +22.9%) leapt into third position on the back of the third-placed Triton ute (505, +37.2%), which surged after its facelifted model went on sale, along with the 10th-placed Outlander mid-size SUV (229) and 12th-placed ASX small SUV (188).
Mazda’s consistency (954 units, +1.3%) held it in fourth position, with the sixth-placed CX-5 mid-size SUV (292, +5.8%) doing most of the heavy lifting, while the BT-50 ute (196) missed out on the top 10 by just 33 sales.
Holden (848 units, -12.4%) continued to struggle, slipping from third position to fifth, although the fifth-placed Colorado ute (299, -17.4%) did prove popular, even if its volume did shrink considerably.
Like Mitsubishi, Nissan (690 units, +5.7%) climbed up the charts, claiming sixth position, with the fourth-placed Navara ute (335, -12.8%) slowing but still influential.
Hyundai (604 units, +9.2%) also moved up a position, to seventh, thanks to the 13th-placed Tucson mid-size SUV (180) and 14th-placed Kona small SUV (160), while Suzuki (587, +1.2%) took eighth on the back of the contracting eighth-placed Swift light car (246, -19.9%).
The seventh-placed Sportage mid-size SUV (273 units, +22.4%) drove Kia (580, +13.3%) to ninth position, while Honda (512, +24.3%) rebounded back into the top 10, pushing Volkswagen (428, -5.3%) out to 11th.
In the year-to-date sales race, Toyota’s 3926 sales and 15.3 per cent market share have it 1199 units ahead of second-placed Ford, which has the best-selling model in New Zealand, the Ranger (1535, +6.0%), underpinning its performance in the market.
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