NZ new vehicle sales hit record in May stoked by economy, ahead of Fieldays

Japanese imported cars parked at Port of Auckland. Photo by Lynn Grieveson

New Zealand new vehicle sales rose to a record for the month in May, underpinned by a strong economy and discounted prices ahead of the agricultural Fieldays.

New vehicle registrations increased 7.9 percent to 14,169 in May from the same month a year earlier, marking the strongest level for May since the Motor Industry Association began collating the data in 1975. Registrations of passenger vehicles and SUVs jumped 11 percent to 9,276, while commercial vehicle registrations rose 3 percent to 4,893.

New Zealand new vehicle sales hit an annual record for the fourth year running in 2017 as the economy is buoyed by low-interest rates and record migration and so far this year new vehicle sales are running 2.7 percent ahead of last year. Vehicle sales in the May month were boosted by special offers ahead of the annual Fieldays event in June, the MIA said.

“The market for new vehicles continues to operate at historically high levels with registrations underpinned by a range of positive economic factors and a wide choice of models at competitive prices," MIA chief executive David Crawford said in a statement.

Japanese car maker Toyota remained the market leader in May, with an 18 percent market share, followed by Ford on 11 percent and Mazda at 9 percent, the MIA said. Toyota was the market leader for passenger and SUV registrations with a 19 percent market share, while Ford retained the market lead in the commercial sector with a 23 percent market share.

Four of the top five selling models for the month of May were light commercial vehicles. The Ford Ranger was the bestselling vehicle with sales of 1,017 units, followed by the Toyota Hilux with 582 units and the Toyota Highlander with 467 units.