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NZ Sales: Strongest October on Record

High five: Toyota took the top three spots in the best sellers list last month, with its Highlander (Kluger) the most popular SUV in October.

Boost in rental sales invigorates New Zealand's overall total

5 Nov 2015


NEW ZEALAND new-car sales continued to rise in October, with passenger cars leading the charge, while light-commercial offerings took a dive.

NZ Motor Industry Association chief executive officer David Crawford said last month marked record new-vehicle sales for October, with registrations up five per cent to 12,684 units, and predicted another big finish for the year.

“Registrations of new vehicles have averaged a staggering 11,237 a month year to date, and if this pace continues, the industry will smash last year’s record sales of 127,352,” he said.

Year to date sales at the end of October stood at 112,217.

New passenger car registrations were up eight per cent in October, rising by 726 units to 9636 vehicles, while commercial registrations were down by 65 vehicles, to 3048.

Used-vehicle sales remain strong, with a rise of 1.5 per cent over October 2014 to 11,985 units.

Toyota sold one in four new vehicles on New Zealand roads in October, with 3324 sales, up 7.2 per cent on the same month last year.

Holden was second, up 7.1 per cent to 1305, and Ford third, down 9.8 per cent to 1225.

Ford NZ managing director Corey Holter said October 2014 was an extremely strong month for Ranger, while this year he was “a little short of supply, which will be rectified in November,” he said.

Mr Holter said he was happy with the launch of the Ranger-based Everest, which sold 46 units in its first full month, just one unit behind Toyota’s Prado.

He said he is also pleased with the performance of the Mondeo, which is second place in the mid-size segment by two cars from Mazda6, while the facelifted Focus is one unit out of the top three in the small-car segment after its first full month of retail.

Mr Holter said he believes the market is set for a record come the end of the year.

“The dairy payout is coming back up, and there’s still strong consumer sentiment in Auckland and Christchurch,” he said.

Mazda ended October in fourth place behind Ford, up 41.8 per cent to 1028 sales.

Mazda NZ managing director Andrew Clearwater said October represented the first time the car-maker had sold more than 100 units in a month before.

“I think it’s a combination of good stock supply, and new models,” he said.

“We feel as if we’ve been releasing new models all year. We have three out of 10 in the shortlist for NZ car of the year, and we’re hoping that, like the All Blacks, we have two consecutive cup wins.”

Mr Clearwater said buyers of European cars are swapping up for Mazdas, which is part of his stated strategy ro build a gap from other Japanese mass-market brands, although he’s still surprised the market is quite this strong.

But he said vehicles have never been better value for money, adding tht it was cheap to borrow at the moment.

“The other strength is continued Auckland-market buoyancy. Everyone is feeling a bit more wealthy because of their house value, which is encouraging them to spend up.”

Hyundai followed Mazda by some margin, up 1.4 per cent to 735 sales, followed by Mitsubishi, up 9.5 per cent to 611, and Nissan, up 26.6 per cent to 605.

Nissan NZ managing director John Manley said the strong result was about timing, and added that supply of Qashqai and X-Trail had improved after being on allocation since launch.

Mr Manley said the rental market was up, which implies the tourist business is going well.

“Let’s see what happens now we’ve won the Rugby World Cup, there’ll be a whole new dose of positivity,” Mr Manley said.

Suzuki followed, up 6.5 per cent to 411, and Volkswagen – suffering from the aftermath of the diesel debacle – dropped 26.5 per cent to 316.

Mercedes-Benz – thanks in part to its commercial vehicle offerings, with Sprinter alone selling 97 units – squeezing into the top 10 with a lift of 39.7 per cent to 285, just one unit above Honda, which fell 10.4 per cent to 284, having suffered stock shortages.

Honda NZ sales and marketing manager Nadine Bell said there was plenty of Honda stock in October 2014, not long after the Jazz launch in July.

“We had huge Jazz sales and could deliver,” she said, “Whereas with HR-V we are scrambling to get stock, with 179 agreements still to deliver, so it’s all down to timing.”

Toyota’s Corolla was New Zealand’s top-selling model thanks to strong rental sales, with 1334 vehicles sold, of which 1087 were rentals, followed by Ford’s Ranger as New Zealand’s favourite commercial, with 561 registrations.

Following these modes was the Toyota Highlander (428, including 339 rental), Toyota Yaris (378, including 268 rental) and the Toyota HiLux (364).

Next was the Toyota RAV4 (362, of which 248 were rentals), Holden Colorado (278), Mazda3 (278, 141 of which were rental) and Holden Captiva (270, including 105 rentals).

SUV remains the dominant segment with 34 per cent share for the month, with small passenger cars on 20 per cent, and utes at 17 per cent.

NZ Top 10 makes October 2015
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