NZ new vehicle sales post second-strongest July ever, on track for record year


Car sales yard in Lower Hutt. Photo by Lynn Grieveson

New Zealand new vehicle sales continued to accelerate in July, posting the second-strongest level of sales for the month.

New vehicle registrations increased 6 percent to 12,324 in July from the same month a year earlier, marking the second strongest level for July since 1984 when 13,983 vehicles were registered, the Motor Industry Association said. Registrations of passenger vehicles and SUVs lifted 5.7 percent to 8,041, while commercial vehicle registrations rose 6.4 percent to 4,283.

The country remains on track to post a fifth annual record for new vehicle sales with registrations so far this year tracking 1.8 percent ahead of the same period last year. The vehicle market has been underpinned by low interest rates and record levels of migration and tourism although uncertainty has crept in over recent months as the local currency weakens amid signs of an easing in the pace of economic expansion.

“Despite there being several worrying signs the NZ economy is not as strong as it has been combined with a significant drop in overall business confidence, new vehicle sales have for the time being held steady,” MIA chief executive David Crawford said in a statement.

Japanese car maker Toyota remained the market leader in July, with a 17 percent market share, followed by Ford on 10 percent and Mazda at 8 percent, the MIA said. Toyota was the market leader for passenger and SUV registrations with a 15 percent market share, and for the commercial sector with a 20 percent market share.

The top-selling models for the month of July were all light commercial vehicles. The Ford Ranger retained its position as the bestselling vehicle model with 674 units, followed by the Toyota Hilux with 658 units and the Holden Colorado with 408 units, the MIA said.