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NZ sales: New-vehicle sales back in record books

Number one: Ford's Ranger has taken the mantle as the top-selling vehicle in New Zealand with 3035 units sold in the first six months of 2015.

Strongest June on record and fifth-strongest month overall for NZ new-car sales

9 Jul 2015


NEW-VEHICLE sales climbed again last month to become the strongest June on record and the fifth-strongest monthly result ever recorded in New Zealand.

The total of 13,030 sales represented a 4.1 per cent increase on the same month last year, and Motor Industry Association chief executive officer David Crawford said the previous highest month was August 1984, when 13,154 new vehicles were sold.

The monthly record was set in July 1984, when 13,983 new vehicles found homes in New Zealand.

Year-to-date growth is settling closer to the result predicted by many pundits at the start of the year, with new-vehicle sales up 5.5 per cent to 65,574.

Used-import sales are also up, from 64,023 to the end of June in 2014, to 74,823 sales in the same period this year – a rise of 16.9 per cent.

Mr Crawford said SUVs remain the dominant segment, at 33 per cent year to date, with the light-commercial pick-up market taking 21 per cent over the same period, and the small-passenger segment at 14 per cent year to date – down from 18 per cent share at the same time last year.

Mr Crawford said while economic indicators suggest the economy is flattening, if the rate of sales continues, new-vehicle registrations could hit 130,000 by year end for the first time.

Toyota continues to lead the market, its year-to-date tally of 11,700 marking a 7.8 per cent increase.

Holden remains in second and is up 10.7 per cent to 6946. Holden NZ general manager of sales Sean Tupp said the car-maker's strength is that it has got significant representation in the two strongest segments.

Mr Tupp said the Colorado ute is coming into its own, and new variants are set to land in July. The Trax compact SUV is starting to gain some traction after a disappointing start, while the larger Captiva 7 is performing strongly after the introduction of a special edition.

Discussing June's figures, Mr Tupp said they were boosted by high rental volume from Toyota, but Holden expects the market to remain relatively flat from here on in, although the year-end result could reach 131,000.

Ford's numbers dropped 4.5 per cent to 6442 year to date, Mazda rose 22.7 per cent to 4833, and Hyundai fell 1.5 per cent to 4453.

Hyundai Motors NZ general manager Andy Sinclair said the big difference for the brand this year is its lack of rental sales.

“If you took the rentals out [of the overall result] we’d be second in passenger for the year,” he said.

The Korean brand had a record retail month through dealerships, and Mr Sinclair said the company made a strategic decision to not target rentals. In that respect, Hyundai joins a number of other manufacturers that believe rental sales are not good for business in New Zealand.

Mr Sinclair said he does expected the market to sit around the 128,000 mark by year's end, with growth slowing in part because “cars pre-registered in the first half of the year will need to be sold in the second half.”

Mitsubishi's year-to-date sales are up 9.5 per cent to 4283, and the company's head of sales and marketing strategy Daniel Cook cited good sales for the brand’s two key new models in bustling segments, with Triton ute and Outlander SUV selling well.

However, he pointed to market feedback that suggests conditions are tightening.

Mr Cook said it is now clear the economy is slowing, there’s worldwide concern flaring up and dairy farmers are forecasting a lower payout, but he pointed out that some industry segments and regions are still doing well, so overall market growth will be limited.

Nissan sales grew 9.6 per cent to 4175, with Volkswagen up 0.3 per cent to 2838.

Suzuki numbers fell 15.1 per cent to 2277, thanks in part to to a solid result in the same period last year, following the launch of the S-Cross and an update for the Swift.

Suzuki NZ general manager of motor vehicles Garry Collins said the brand is looking forward to year end, with the long-awaited arrival of Vitara into a strong segment.

“We’re confident that will be a strong model and will help us recover,” he said, adding that he predicted a market that will end the year up around four per cent. “We’re seeing steady levels of inquiry, and no major reason the market won’t continue to rock on pretty well.”

Honda rounds out the top 10, up 21.7 per cent to 1848 units.

As for New Zealand’s top model, that goes to Ford's Ranger for the first six months of 2014, with 3035 sales, including 156 rentals, followed by the Toyota HiLux (2581), Toyota Corolla (2399, of which 730 were rentals), Nissan Navara (1884) and Holden Colorado (1806).

Outside the top five is the Toyota RAV4 (1766, including 825 rentals – it’s the favourite rental model so far this year), Holden Commodore (1423, including 452 rentals), Hyundai ix35 (1270 including 97 rentals), Mazda CX-5 and Toyota Hiace – sneaking into the top 10 by a single unit more than Suzuki’s evergreen Swift, which sold 1209 cars to the end of June.

NZ Top 10 makes June 2015
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NZ Top 10 makes YTD June 2015
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