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NZ sales: Strongest April yet helps market rebound

Steady hand: The Ranger ute (760 units, +2.0%) almost singlehandedly catapulted Ford (1138, +2.1%) into second position last month.

New Zealand’s fluctuating new-vehicle market up 2.0 per cent in record April

3 May 2019

NEW Zealand’s new-vehicle market rebounded last month for the second time this year, with April producing a record 10,640 sales – a 2.0 per cent increase over the corresponding month last year and just five units more than the high-water mark set in 2017.


With January down 6.0 per cent (to 13,938 units), February up 1.5 per cent (11,699) and March sliding 5.4 per cent (13,271), the Kiwi car industry’s fluctuating year now sees overall sales stand at 49,474 units – only 2.5 per cent behind the running rate of 2018’s all-time-record market.


“The strong outturn for April 2019 was positive in tight market conditions,” said NZ Motor Industry Association (MIA) chief executive David Crawford.


Sales of passenger cars and SUVs were down 1.0 per cent in April, to 6778 units combined, but light-commercial vehicles well and truly made up for the decline, climbing 8.0 per cent, to 3862 units.


Mid-size SUVs continued to be the most popular type of new vehicle, with a 21.1 per cent market share, followed by pick-up/cab-chassis 4x4s (17.6%) and small SUVs (14.1%).


Market leader Toyota continued its dominance last month, recording 1806 sales – a massive 37.9 per cent rise over April 2018 – on the back of two of New Zealand’s three best-selling models: the dependable HiLux ute (542 units, 18.6%) and the RAV4 mid-size SUV (525) that launched in new-generation form in April.


However, bragging rights as New Zealand’s top model again went to Ford’s Ranger ute (760 units, +2.0%), which almost singlehandedly catapulted the Blue Oval (1138, +2.1%) into second position.


Mitsubishi (909 units, +22.2%) shot up to third position in both the brand and model stakes, with the recently facelifted Triton ute (464, +79.8%) making its presence felt.


Fellow Japanese brand Mazda (755 units, -15.4%) managed to hold fourth position, relying heavily on the CX-5 mid-size SUV (252) which finished in eighth place among the top models but was down 20.5 per cent for the month.


Holden (728 units, -14.6%) continued to struggle, with its fifth-placed Colorado ute (401, +31.0%) a rare source of positivity.


Also faring poorly was Nissan in sixth place overall for the month (633 units, -22.2%), which was the deepest downturn among the top 10 brands and came despite a positive result for the improving Qashqai small SUV (213, +14.5%).


This put it in 11th place on the individual model table, and while the Navara ute finished seventh, its 268 units marked a 17.3 per cent decrease.


Hyundai (614 units, +38.9%) was the biggest improver among the leading brands, with the 10th-placed Tucson mid-size SUV (218) underpinning its push up the charts.


Korean counterpart Kia (537 units, +5.1%) was also in the black in eighth position, thanks to the sixth-placed Sportage mid-size SUV (328, +49.1%), which made massive strides in April.


Suzuki (461 units, -15.1%) backtracked last month, falling to ninth position, with the equally ninth-placed Swift light car (231, -5.7%) unable to arrest its decline.


Finally, Volkswagen (309 units, -18.7%) was the sole European brand to crack the top 10, although it barely held onto its position as only six units separated it from Honda (305) and Subaru (299).


In the year-to-date sales race, Toyota’s 7418 sales and 15.0 per cent market share have it a very comfortable 2228 units ahead of second-placed Ford, which has the best-selling model in New Zealand, the Ranger (3143, 6.4%), accounting for 60.6 per cent of its volume.

NZ top 10 makes April 2019
Ranking Brand Sales Share%
1 Toyota 1806 17.0
2 Ford 1138 10.7
3 Mitsubishi 909 8.5
4 Mazda 755 7.1
5 Holden 728 6.8
6 Nissan 633 5.9
7 Hyundai 614 5.8
8 Kia 537 5.0
9 Suzuki 461 4.3
10 Volkswagen 309 2.9

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