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NZ Sales: Records expected for final quarter

Rolling along: The Toyota Corolla is the best selling passenger car in New Zealand so for this year, but it trails the HiLux and Ford Ranger for overall sales.

September sales put New Zealand on track for yet another record year

6 Oct 2016


LAST month marked the second best single month of new vehicle sales in New Zealand as the industry capped off the third quarter with more record sales.

NZ Motor Industry Association chief executive officer David Crawford confirmed more new vehicles sold in September 2016 than any other September on record, and only one month has ever surpassed it.

“Record strong immigration, high levels of economic activity in Auckland and elsewhere and record low interest rates are combining to give consumers and business [the] confidence to purchase big-ticket items,” he said.

“If registrations of new vehicles continue at this pace, then it is possible we could see more than 140,000 new vehicles registered in a year for the first time.” That result has helped the overall market grow by 7.6 per cent year to date on the same period last year, to 107,122 units.

The micro segment was a little more popular this year, light and small sectors were not as busy and pick-ups have taken a slightly higher percentage of sales in 2016, while more sportscars have been sold to the end of September than the whole of 2015.

But New Zealand’s top model remains Ford’s Ranger, with 6406 sold (356 of them rentals), followed by Toyota HiLux (4787), Toyota Corolla (3580, including 1192 rentals), Holden Colorado (2759) and Toyota RAV4 (2514, 874 of them rentals).

Rounding out the top 10 are the Mitsubishi Triton (2471), Kia Sportage (2326), Nissan Navara (2319), Mazda CX-5 (2130) and Suzuki Swift (1948). Just two passenger cars made the top 10.

Toyota leads the table on 18,305 sales year to date, up 0.7 per cent for 17 per cent share, followed by Ford, up 25.1 per cent to 12,690.

That strong result does not only come from Ranger sales, Ford NZ general marketing manager Cameron Thomas told GoAuto.

He said that there was strong interest in the Focus small car, as well as the Mustang pony car and Mondeo mid-sizer.

Mr Thomas said Ford also implemented a new retail strategy, and added that the company was “seeing conversion in the retail space across the back of that”.

He said he does not expect sales to fall back in the last quarter of the year, with strong tourist numbers continuing to lead to strong rental orders.

GM Holden nabbed third, but it was down 4.5 per cent to 9866 units.

Holden NZ managing director Kristian Aquilina says that was largely due to timing of deliveries.

“Last year we delivered a fair few fleet vehicles earlier in the year, and this year some of our planned deliveries will be in the last quarter,” he said.

Mr Aquilina said that with no Holden product currently on stream for the mid-size SUV segment – a key bracket in the NZ market – and with Colorado on runout until the new model went on sale on September 10, the car-maker had been at a disadvantage, but he expects sales to lift for the last quarter of 2016.

Mr Aquilina said rental agencies are keen to get additional cars to meet strong demand, and “private demand is driven by additional population, and additional wealth New Zealanders are experiencing in a very robust economy”.

Mazda sales rose 10.9 per cent to 8338 by the end of September, with Mitsubishi up 8.8 per cent to 6855 in a year shaping up to be its seventh consecutive year of growth.

Hyundai sales dropped 2.1 per cent to 6379 by the end of the third quarter. and the company’s general manager Andy Sinclair said he hoped to make 2016 the 14th consecutive year of growth.

“We’re a bit behind, but have been without a light car since half way through the second quarter, a situation we plan to remedy by year end,” he said.

Nissan rose 5.5 per cent to 6343, while Kia continued its climb, now up 67.8 per cent over the same period last year, for 4083 sales, and eighth place on the overall charts thanks largely to Sportage SUV, seventh in the model tables.

Kia NZ general manager Todd McDonald said the upside to Sportage performance was that it has had a run-on effect of the entire range.

Mr McDonald says the fourth quarter traditionally has strong retail action, and with Sportage stock shortages expected, Kia’s sales may decline, but he expects more new supply into next year, as well as the launch of new Rio and a new Picanto light car offerings.

Suzuki is also having a good year, with sales up 22.9 per cent YTD to 4070. The company’s general manager of marketing Tom Peck said Vitara’s introduction put the brand firmly back onto the SUV map, but Swift was also having a good 2016 in the final year of its model life.

He said most of the sales are to the private market, and added that sales were boosted by the traditional used-import buyer now purchasing new.

Used imports still sell in similar numbers to new vehicles each year, but with interest rates low, and cars more affordable than they’ve ever been, people feel comfortable to spend money on a new vehicle, he said.

Volkswagen rounded out the top 10, down 5.2 per cent to 3860.

NZ Top 10 makes September 2016
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NZ Top 10 makes YTD end September 2016
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