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NZ Sales: SUVs lift in busy February

Strong month: The Hyundai Tucson was the top-selling model to rental car buyers last month and came in equal 10th with the Mazda CX-5 for overall monthly sales.

More records fall in NZ as market shows no sign of slowing

6 Mar 2017


NEW Zealand new-vehicle sales have hit a new February record in 2017, with registrations of 11,785 up 14.3 per cent on the previous February record, set in 2016.

Motor Industry Association CEO David Crawford said passenger and SUV registrations were up 12 per cent on the same month last year, and commercials up 19.6 per cent.

“As the 2017 year progresses, market conditions remain unchanged from 2016, with record net immigration, low cost of debt and a strong economy,” Mr Crawford said.

The medium SUV segment took 16 per cent of the market, followed by four-wheel-drive pick-ups on 13 per cent, and large SUVs on 12 per cent.

Mr Crawford said total SUV sales accounted for 39.5 per cent of February registrations, followed by passenger segments with 28.5 per cent.

NZ’s top model was once again Ford’s Ranger, with 664 sales, followed by Toyota HiLux on 533, and Toyota Corolla and Holden Colorado, joint third on 351.

The Nissan Navara (246), Mitsubishi Triton (282), Kia Sportage (289), Mitsubishi Outlander (217), Hyundai Tucson and Mazda CX-5 (both on 213) rounded out the top 10.

Of Hyundai’s Tucson’s tally, 63 units were rentals, making it the top rental for the month, followed by the SsangYong Korando (50 rentals), Nissan X-Trail (30) and Ford Ranger (28), with the rental market dropping off sharply as the summer season started to wind down.

Toyota remained the market leader, up 11.5 per cent to 1738 for a 14.7 per cent share of the overall market.

Toyota NZ general manager of sales and operations Steve Prangnell said the company was increasing its forecast for the year.

“We run a pretty sophisticated modelling tool to analyse the seasonally adjusted annual rate, the market was on a high last year and our prediction now had been 150,000 for this year, but our modelling based on these early months is somewhere north of 155,000,” he said.

Mr Pragnell cited record immigration, big infrastructure projects and a rock solid economy as reasons for an additional 800 cars going onto Auckland roads each month.

Toyota NZ has just launched a facelift Highlander – dubbed Kluger in Australia – with a more powerful V6 petrol engine and an eight-speed automatic transmission.

It will also launch the C-HR sub-compact SUV in April into a growing segment, and while it had its best HiLux sales last year, the model is tracking well in 2017, suggesting another strong tally by year end.

Ford sat second, up 4.6 per cent to 1324, followed by GM Holden, up 13.9 per cent to 1018.

Mazda was up 12.8 per cent to 941, while Mitsubishi sales lifted 18.3 per cent to 829.

Mitsubishi NZ head of sales and marketing strategy Daniel Cook said the car-maker had a strong month across a number of products, primarily Outlander and ASX.

“Those market sectors continue to be huge, and our line-up is well placed to take advantage,” he said.

Mr Cook said the Motor Industry Association had initially predicted about three per cent growth this year, and he had calculated five-plus per cent for the full year, “but that’s been outstripped”.

He said he believed the market would not slow as predicted, given interest rates are low, the dairy sector is coming back, and rural areas are buying more cars.

“We’re seeing growth throughout the country, which we didn’t see last year.”

Hyundai had a good month, up 30.7 per cent to 703 and the car-maker’s general manager Andy Sinclair said that it had sold a lot of i20 and i20 Cross in February, adding that there would be more coming in March as it was short of stock.

Nissan sales sagged by 1.7 per cent to 692, while Suzuki’s shot up 72.5 per cent to 628.

Suzuki NZ general manager of marketing Tom Peck said the newly launched Ignis baby crossover has been in the market now for a full month, giving the company a boost, while the Swift was still selling well even though stock was running out following the end of manufacturing for the current generation model in September.

“We also launched a new version of S-Cross late in the month, which has taken off pretty well, and we have some deals in the market,” Mr Peck said.

Kia, up 26 per cent to 513, and Volkswagen, up 4.9 per cent to 431, rounded out the top 10.

NZ Top 10 makes February 2017
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