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NZ sales: Last lap to record year

Ute battle: While the Ford Ranger (below) was the top-selling model in New Zealand in November, the Holden Colorado (left) grabbed fifth spot and overtook its Commodore stablemate in sales for the month.

Steady growth makes for record November in New Zealand

4 Dec 2015


NEW ZEALAND new vehicle sales grew by four per cent in November compared with the same month last year, but it was light-commercial vehicles rather than passenger cars that led the growth.

Motor Industry Association chief executive officer David Crawford said the tally of 11,620 made it the strongest November on record.

“Registrations of new vehicles year to date is already the second highest for any year, eclipsing the previous second-highest annual total of 123,247 registrations in 1984, and is only 3363 registrations behind last year’s record of 127,179 new vehicles,” he said.

Mr Crawford said new passenger car registrations were up 52 units, or 0.6 per cent, to 8115 vehicles for the month, the strongest on record, with Toyota leading the passenger table from Holden and Mazda.

New commercial vehicle registrations were up 397 units, or 12.6 per cent, to 3505, and Toyota led the commercial market, followed by Ford and Holden.

In terms of the overall tally, Toyota sold more vehicles than second- and third-placed Holden and Ford combined, its 2613 total marking a rise of 7.5 per cent over the same month last year.

Toyota New Zealand general manager sales and operations Steve Prangnell said the brand’s strength is in the passenger market on the back of its SUVS, and rental demand.

“It’s a big November, I think our biggest on record,” he said.

“A lot of brands have been asked by rental companies to bring deliveries forward, as they are inundated with demand. There are more people coming in than going out, and they need cars.”

Holden sales dropped 2.6 per cent over the same period, to 1322. However the arrival of the Colorado ute back in November 2014, and a sales campaign that doubled Cruze sales, along with good rental numbers, had boosted sales by 38.9 per cent over the same month in 2013, which puts this year’s figure into perspective.

Holden NZ general manager of sales Sean Tupp said November 2015 saw less pre-registration activity than last year, adding that he was happy with overall performance, especially with Colorado overtaking Commodore for sales.

Mr Tupp said rental numbers were unusually high, and could be higher, as he’s heard reports that shortages in accommodation for inbound tourists have constrained demand.

He told GoAuto that while the dairy sector had led to some market negativity, rental and tourism were doing well, and forestry, Kiwi fruit and some export markets are reflecting positively.

Ford sales were down 4.8 per cent to 1261, while Mazda’s climbed 20.8 per cent to 849, as its executives held their breath for next week’s NZ Car of the Year announcement – with three of its models, the Mazda2, CX-3, and MX-5, in the 10-strong final shortlist.

Hyundai fell 1.7 per cent to 645, Nissan climbed 17.1 per cent to 624, after a poor result the previous November, and Mitsubishi lifted 1.6 per cent to 580.

Volkswagen is still feeling the impact of recent scandals, with the used market reported to be down for the brand, while new-car sales dropped 15 per cent to 369 for the month.

Kia and Suzuki tied for ninth place – Kia up 121.1 per cent to 345, and Suzuki up 6.8 per cent, also to 345, to round out the top 10.

Kia NZ general manager Todd McDonald said he expects the market to drop heading into 2016, in part due to exchange rates.

“We’ve already seen indications of car companies increasing RRP to reflect exchange rates, without a crystal ball I’d guess it will impact volume due to the price-value equation for some consumers, especially with models at lower margins,” he said.

As for Suzuki, its sales boost came courtesy of the new Vitara crossover, which was not in the model mix in November 2014.

Suzuki NZ general manager motor vehicles Garry Collins said he had expected it to cannibalise S-Cross sales, but that did not happen.

While SUVs took 33 per cent of the total market in November, with utes in second place on 22 per cent, it was LCVs hogging the model tables, with five in the top 10.

Ford’s Ranger was November’s top-selling model with 690 sales, followed by Toyota HiLux (683), Toyota Corolla (652, of which 456 were rentals), Toyota Highlander (295, 207 of them rentals) and Holden Captiva (291, including 102 rentals).

The Holden Colorado (269), Mitsubishi Triton (253) Mazda CX-5 (241), Mazda3 (221, of which 83 were rentals) and Nissan Navara (218) rounded out the top 10.

Mr Crawford said New Zealand is on track to break through the 130,000 new-car barrier for the first time since MIA began compiling sales records.

NZ Top 10 makes November 2015
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