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NZ sales: Utes keep Kiwi sales on even keel

Number one: The Ford Ranger was the most popular new vehicle in New Zealand last month, with 674 examples sold, up 2.9 per cent year to date.

NZ market takes breather in February as LCVs offset dip in passenger car/SUV sales

5 Mar 2018

LIGHT-COMMERCIAL vehicles continue to underpin New Zealand’s buoyant new-vehicle market, with one-tonne utilities making up the top five models last month as the industry took a breather after a long run of record-breaking results.

The overall market was down 2.2 per cent last month to a still-strong 11,531 new-vehicle registrations, with 4116 commercial vehicle sales representing a 10.3 per cent increase on the booming February market last year.

Offsetting this was 7415 combined passenger car and SUV sales, which marked a 7.9 per cent reduction and has tempered overall year-to-date growth in the Kiwi new-car sector to 3.0 per cent.

Leading the way was the Ford Ranger (735) and Toyota HiLux (703), which were well out in front of a three-way battle raging between the Nissan Navara (384), Mitsubishi Triton (368) and Holden Colorado (362).

Suzuki’s Swift was next best on 307 units, ahead of the Mazda CX-5 (276) – the top-selling SUV last month in the land of the long white cloud, although it must still defer to Toyota’s RAV4 in year-to-date terms – and last month’s chart-topping model, the Toyota Corolla (258).

Rounding out the top 10 were the Kia Sportage (223) and Holden Commodore (216), the latter including the first registrations of the redesigned model that has now switched from Australian to German production.

Describing the monthly result as a reflection of “a mature and stable market”, New Zealand Motor Industry Association chief executive David Crawford said the market remained strong and that “some vehicle segments were constrained by low stocks levels – which will continue into the foreseeable future”.

Unsurprisingly, the 4x4 pick-up/cab-chassis segment was ahead of the field with 1946 sales and a 16.9 per cent share of the total market, followed by mid-size SUVs (1802, 15.6%), compact SUVs (1336, 11.6%), 4x2 pick-up/cab-chassis (1219, 10.6%), large SUVs (1163, 10.1%) and, in a sign of the times as buyers increasingly move away from traditional passenger vehicles, small cars managed only sixth position with 1078 sales for the month and a 9.3 per cent share.

Toyota was a standout with 1959 units, up 48.0 per cent on February last year and enough for a 17.0 per cent share of the market that keeps Ford and every other player at bay, the Blue Oval brand turning in 1183 units – up 16.2 per cent – for a 10.3 per cent share.

Toyota’s Corolla and RAV4 remain the two top-selling models in New Zealand’s passenger/SUV segment for the year to date, with Highlander (Kluger) in fourth behind the CX-5, while among the light commercials HiLux is well supported by the HiAce van.

Toyota also dominates the rental vehicle market in New Zealand with its LCVs, SUVs and Corolla.

Notably, Ranger is only a minor player in NZ’s significant rental market – only three registrations were recorded here last month, compared to 43 for HiLux – while the popular Australian-developed ute accounted for 62 per cent of Ford’s overall sales.

That said, the tourist transport trade offers important volume for Focus and crossovers/SUVs such as EcoSport and Escape.

As Toyota and Ford posted strong results, Holden recorded 968 sales last month for a 4.9 per cent downturn over the corresponding month last year. Its 8.4 per cent share does, however, keep the lion brand just ahead of Mazda on 8.2 per cent as the Japanese brand held firm on 942 sales (+0.1%).

Mitsubishi maintained a top-five placing among the leading brands, with 857 units (+3.4%), ahead of archrival-cum-alliance-partner Nissan (653, -5.6%) and Suzuki (580, -7.6%).

Hyundai took a 21.3 per cent hit last month with 553 sales for the month, managing only eighth place in the market, while fellow Korean brand Kia, on 512, was just one unit shy of last February’s result.

Volkswagen held firm in 10th position, the upscale German brand’s 452 sales representing a 4.9 per cent improvement over February last year, although in YTD terms it remains just outside the top 10 as Honda (412 sales last month) holds sway for now.

It is early days yet with only two months of trading, but Mazda (2138) has its nose in front of Holden (2130) in the battle for third, while Kia (1273) is challenging Nissan (1359) for sixth position and, not far behind, Suzuki (1176) and Hyundai (1170) will likewise be looking to pounce.

Toyota has sold 5224 sales in the first two month for a commanding 19.8 per cent share of the market, while Ford has 2837 units to its name for a 10.8 per cent share.

NZ Top 10 Brands, February 2018

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