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NZ Sales: August sales hit another high

Fantastic four: Toyota had four models in the top-10 best-selling models list last month, including the RAV4.

August sales boost record year to date in New Zealand

6 Sep 2016


NEW Zealand’s new-vehicle sales will almost certainly smash a new record by the end of this year as the market continues to grow, with sales up seven per cent on the same period in 2015.

Motor Industry Association CEO David Crawford cited the strongest net immigration on record, a healthy tourism sector and a robust economy for driving new sales.

“An already record year to date for new vehicle registrations just got stronger with the highest August registrations since 1984,” he said. “August registrations of 12,677 is up 13.3 per cent on August 2015.”

There were 8896 passenger and SUV registrations in August, and 3781 commercial sales.

SUV sales made up 38 per cent of the New Zealand new-vehicle market in August, with the passenger segment on 32 per cent and light commercials grabbing a 25 per cent share.

Ford’s Ranger was again New Zealand’s most popular model, with the company shifting 721 units (including 51 rentals). The Toyota Corolla came second (535, including 276 rentals), then Toyota HiLux (486), Kia Sportage (295) and Toyota Yaris (289, including 63 rentals).

Nissan Navara (273), Mazda3 (270, 72 of them rentals), Toyota RAV4 (268, including 100 rentals), Holden Colorado (266) and Mazda CX-5 (255) rounded out the top 10.

Toyota topped the market with 2281 units, down one per cent on August 2015, with an 18 per cent share.

Ford was second, up 19.3 per cent to 1463 and the company’s general manager of marketing Cameron Thomas said the strong month of Ranger sales came from freed-up supply.

“Production delays have washed out and this is what it really looks like,” he said.

Mr Thomas confirmed a strong month for Transit commercial van, with 150 sales, and also strong passenger sales, supported by hero product the Mustang, as well as the Australian-built Territory SUV that will continue to roll out until quarter one, 2017.

Mr Thomas said the brand was performing well throughout the country, but disproportionately well in Auckland.

“Presumably through immigration and Auckland growth, as well as infrastructure and building projects,” he said.

GM Holden sales rose 3.4 per cent to 1051 units, while Mazda numbers lifted 12.5 per cent to 943.

Mazda NZ national marketing manager Glenn Harris said the strong result was due to a combination of good supply and continued demand for crossovers.

Mazda had just released the Mazda3 model year upgrade and cleared a few post-New Zealand National Agricultural Fieldays orders on BT-50, with Mr Harris confirming that it takes about “three months to iron all that out”.

Mr Harris was happy with Mazda’s fourth place in the overall market and second placing in passenger sales.

“When you drill out all the rentals, direct deliveries and government business, we are number one in private sales,” he said.

Mr Harris added that NZ car sales was now a tale of two markets, “Auckland and everyone else.” But he said that Auckland growth was moving to the regions, with growth in the Bay of Plenty, Waikato and into the centre of the North Island as Auckland expands and the dynamic changes.

Mr Harris said people were willing to spend more as they are confident with their equity, and there was strong enquiry from business as a result of strong consumer confidence.

He said Christchurch had been flat of late, but added that “coming into spring, and with a lot of visible redevelopment people are really seeing signs of renewal, which is boosting confidence there, too”.

Mr Harris noted that much of the industry has had supply issues thanks to growth ahead of forecasts“We were very early in increasing our own forecast to keep the product footprint for the last four months. Some of our competitors are still calling it quite low, and that could be due to restrictive production allocations.”

Mitsubishi sales rose 36.1 per cent to 795, Hyundai sales lifted 1.7 per cent to 736, while Nissan rose 15.6 per cent to 727.

Kia had another good month, up 61.9 per cent to 502, around three in five of which were the Sportage SUV.

Volkswagen sales rose 23.8 per cent to 494, the biggest single factor being the new-generation Tiguan’s arrival, according to VW NZ general manager Tom Ruddenklau.

“We spent a lot of time preparing for the launch, and have a huge number of presales, including many from existing customers,” he said.

The sales drop prompted by “the diesel issue” has died away, according to Mr Ruddenklau, who added that the company “took the opportunity to have a good look at how we do business”.

Last month VW NZ picked up the Roy Morgan Research number one customer satisfaction award in its category.

“No other country has achieved that for Volkswagen, and we’re pretty proud of that,” he said.

Mr Ruddenklau said the company’s strategy to price from the mainstream to the premium end seems to be working in NZ.

“Not many companies can sell both a $30,000 Golf and a $70,000 Golf, yes we’re more accessible but the brand is still premium, and goes well at that premium level too.”

An exception is Amarok, which does well at the upper end of the ute market, “but not where it’s brutal and based on price,” he added.

Suzuki rounded out the top 10, up 41 per cent to 488 sales.

Suzuki NZ general manager motor vehicles Garry Collins says that was on the back of the launch of Baleno, a strong month on Vitara crossover with the new turbo added to the range, and a strong month for the Swift hatch.

Mr Collins said there has been a big gap between the Swift and S-Cross crossover that the Baleno now bridges.

“We’re limited in stock, and we hope that will free up with better arrivals for September,” he said.

New Zealand is now on track for another record year, with several industry players predicting 145,000 by year end for a growth of 8.2 per cent.

NZ Top 10 makes August 2016
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