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NZ Sales: Sales records continue to tumble

Commercial gains: April saw record registrations for light commercials in New Zealand, with the Ford Ranger (below) topping the charts, and Holden's Colorado slipping into fifth place.

Strongest month for commercials on record and best April overall since 1989

5 May 2015


NEW Zealand posted the strongest April commercial vehicle sales on record last month, as a lift in passenger-car registrations kept the industry motoring along.

Overall sales lifted by 6.4 per cent over the same month last year, to 9290 units, with Motor Industry Association chief executive officer David Crawford confirming the haul of 2915 commercial vehicles as a new record.

Passenger registrations hit 6375, which is 224 units higher than April 2014, meaning more new vehicles were registered in April 2015 than any April since 1989, according to Mr Crawford.

The SUV segment took 30.9 per cent of the market, followed by light-commercial utes, with 21.8 per cent, and traditional passenger cars at 14.8 per cent.

Toyota was the commercial leader for April with a 21 per cent market share (620 units) followed by Ford with 19 per cent (566 units) and Nissan (12 per cent share, 401 units).

That was mirrored in the top-10 model tally for April, with commercials dominating the top ranks. Ford's Ranger lead with 487 sales, followed by the Toyota HiLux on 401, Nissan's Navara at 347, then the Toyota Corolla with 268 and Holden Colorado ute on 250 units.

Hyundai's ix35 SUV (194), the Toyota HiAce van (189, 41 of which were rental vehicles), Holden Commodore (176), Mazda CX-5 (165) and Holden Captiva (159) rounded out a top 10 in which only two vehicles were conventional passenger cars.

Toyota continues to own the market, with sales up 2.2 per cent to 1414, for a 15.2 per cent share.

Ford came second, up 9.1 per cent to 1075, with Holden third, down 8.3 per cent to 839.

Holden NZ managing director Kristian Aquilina said he was disappointed with last month's figures as the numbers contrast with an April 2014 tally that was up over 22 per cent on April 2013.

But with a strong marketing program planned for May, and inventory expected to support it, Mr Aquilina said he anticipates that the car-maker will bounce back.

Holden plans a finance offer this month and expects a strong May and June leading into the NZ National Agricultural Fieldays, when farmers enter a quiet period during which they upgrade equipment.

Nissan leaped to fourth, selling 19.9 per cent more vehicles than April 2014, the 117-unit increase taking its tally to 705.

Nissan NZ managing director John Manley said when shipments arrive, the company has “a great month,” and added that the run-out of the Navara ute is going well, with around 70 D22 work trucks sold in April on top of D40 numbers.

The new Navara arrives in June, at a peak selling period for the farming sector, and Mr Manley expects Nissan to continue to do well.

Mazda registrations rose 16 per cent to 682, its best April on record and 15th record month in a row, while Hyundai rose 2.6 per cent to 636.

Mitsubishi climbed 8.1 per cent to 532 sales, marking 64 months of consecutive year-on-year growth, while Suzuki numbers lifted 22.7 per cent to 389.

Suzuki NZ national sales manager Garry Collins said that rise came in part as a return to form after a poor April in 2014.

“We focus on private sales so tend to see the effect of school holidays, Easter and Anzac Weekend,” he said.

But this year sales hit above target largely based on the back of a finance campaign for Swift, and marketing around a special-edition SX4, he said.

Volkswagen registrations dropped 2.3 per cent to 387, and Kia edged out Honda by 38 units to sneak into the top 10, with its 299 tally marking an increase of 27.8 per cent.

Kia NZ general manager Todd McDonald told GoAuto that shipments of newly launched Sorento arrived and back-orders were supplied – including the 100 pre-orders logged following a day in which dealers brought VIP customers together for a drive day.

He also cited increased rates of Sportage sales, especially for two-wheel drive petrol variants.

Mr McDonald said he had expected the market to plateau in 2015, and added that the New Zealand consumer can see the value in new vehicles.

“The automotive market is selling at unprecedented price points,” at the same time as commodity values like housing are increasing, he said.

With brands pitching light commercials and SUVs to farmers now ramping up for Fieldays, few in the industry now expect sales rates to subside until the traditionally quieter second half of the year.

NZ Top 10 makes April 2015
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