Toyota NZ's vehicle sales soar to new annual record, revenue hits $1.4B

Toyota sold 42,581 new and used vehicles, the highest volume ever in the company's history. Photo: John Sefton

Toyota New Zealand, the country's biggest car brand, achieved record vehicle sales in its latest financial year and generated its highest ever revenue on the back of a strong economy.

The Palmerston North-based company's revenue increased to $1.4 billion in the year ended March 31 from $1.2 billion the year earlier, while its profit edged up to $21.9 million from $21.7 million.

The local unit of the Japanese car maker is benefiting from strong demand for vehicles underpinned by the country's healthy economy. In its latest financial year, Toyota sold 42,581 new and used vehicles, the highest volume ever in the company's history.

"The New Zealand economy continues to perform strongly on the back of healthy agricultural exports, record immigration, growing tourism and a construction sector buoyed by both post-earthquake rebuilds and high levels of housing demand," the company said in its 2018 annual report. "Consequently, the vehicle markets have been strong, setting new records for both new vehicle sales and used vehicle transactions."

While the change in government mid-way through the fiscal year had an impact on business confidence, retail consumer demand has remained solid, Toyota said.

Headline business confidence began falling ahead of the election last year and turned negative in October 2017, then the lowest reading since September 2015. According to the latest monthly ANZ Business Confidence survey from May, a net 27 percent of businesses are pessimistic about the year ahead, down 4 points from April.

Meanwhile, the latest Westpac McDermott Miller consumer confidence survey published today showed confidence declined broadly in the June quarter as the pace of the country’s economic growth cooled along with the housing market, while fuel prices rose.

Toyota said the most significant impact from the new government will be an increased focus on environmental issues, which is likely to see supply-and demand-side initiatives for reducing the carbon dioxide impact of motor vehicles.

The company paid a dividend of $21.7 million to its parent company Toyota Motor Corp during the year, up from $18.3 million a year earlier.