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NZ Sales: Tesla charges up sales charts

September proves to be second-best month on record, Tesla on the move

5 Oct 2021

NEW ZEALAND has recorded its second-strongest month on record in terms of new car sales with 16,518 vehicles registered in September, 3505 – or 21 per cent – of which were electrified.


The total marks an increase of 5616 units (or 51.5 per cent) compared to the corresponding month last year and pushes NZ’s running total to 123,016 vehicles, leaving the market up 40.6 per cent (35,542 units) year to date.


In an added coup, 1512 of the 3505 electrified vehicles sold last month were battery-electric (BEV), meaning September was the first month ever that pure-electric vehicles have outsold regular hybrids (1456).


This feat was reflected by Tesla’s appearance in the top five best-selling manufacturers with 1066 sales netting it a six per cent market share and nabbing fourth behind Toyota (2934 units/18 per cent share), Mitsubishi (2176/13 per cent) and Ford (1870/11 per cent).


While the top three were consistent with previous months, Tesla rocketed up the charts from tenth in August when it sold just 189 cars; a reflection of the changing attitudes towards EVs and likely a result of NZ’s Clean Car Discount incentive scheme that commenced on July 1.


Behind the Californian EV brand, Kia made a triumphant return to the top 10, claiming fifth place with 829 new registrations and a five per cent share), just ahead of its sister company Hyundai in sixth (744 units, five per cent).


Mazda finished the month in seventh with 743 sales (four per cent share) but it was pushed all the way by Suzuki, which ended up eighth with 730 sales (also four per cent).


A fair bit further back, Nissan’s 471 sales earned it ninth place and a three per cent share while Volkswagen rounded out the top 10 with 455 sales (also three per cent) – just a single unit clear of Chinese challenger brand MG (454/three per cent).


Toyota may be king of the hill in terms of the leading brands but the Japanese giant was dealt a major blow in the best-selling model battle, where the Ford Ranger once again took top honours, outselling the HiLux more than twice over (1408 units vs 648).


So poor was the HiLux’s challenge, it sank to fifth best-selling model and was outsold by the Tesla Model 3, of which 1066 examples were delivered to account for 70.5 per cent of all new EVs registered last month.


The Hilux was also outsold by its Corolla small car showroom stablemate and rounding out the top three was the ever-popular Mitsubishi Outlander that chalked up a healthy 963 sales.


As the first of three Toyotas on the board, the Corolla contributed 744 sales and the RAV4 netted sixth with 575 deliveries.


Like its compatriot brand, Mitsubishi also had three models in the top 10, with the second and third – after the Outlander – being the ASX (472) and Eclipse Cross (427) in seventh and eighth respectively.


Ninth went to the MG ZS (329) and tenth went to the Kia Sportage, despite a new-generation version of the latter being just around the corner.


As usual, compact SUVs proved to be the most popular segment, accounting for 22 per cent of the market with 3584 sales, followed by medium SUVs (3173/19 per cent) and 4x4 pick-ups (2420/15 per cent).


Compared to the success of BEVs and the unwaning popularity of hybrids, plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) were the least-preferred form of electrified vehicle last month with 537 examples sold, though that figure is still up 106 units on July’s 431-unit pre-lockdown tally.


According to Motor Industry Association (MIA) chief executive David Crawford, the almost record-breaking September performance was “remarkable given Auckland was at Alert Level 3 for the month”.


“New vehicle distributors have worked hard under trying circumstances to supply orders,” he said.


“It was the second strongest month of any month since the MIA began keeping records.”



Top 10 Brands September 2021

Rank Brand Sales Share %
1. Toyota 2934 18
2. Mitsubishi 2176 13
3. Ford 1870 11
4. Tesla 1066 6
5. Kia 829 5
6. Hyundai 744 5
7. Mazda 743 4
8. Suzuki 730 4
9. Nissan 471 3
10 Volkswagen 455 3


Top 10 Models September 2021

Rank Model Sales
1. Ford Ranger 1408
2. Tesla Model 3 1066
3. Mitsubishi Outlander 963
4. Toyota Corolla 744
5. Toyota HiLux 648
6. Toyota RAV4 575
7. Mitsubishi ASX 472
8. Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross 427
9. MG ZS 329
10. Kia Sportage 266

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