Preliminary figures for new vehicle sales in New Zealand last year show what every industry observer was expecting – a 30-year record.
Registrations for new cars and commercial vehicles will top 126,000 when official Motor Industry Association numbers are released later this week or early next.
That’s more than 3000 units up on the previous record of 123,247 registrations in 1984 and around 13,000 on 2013 numbers of 113,294.
A continued strong NZ economy is likely to push sales up again this year, perhaps to around 128,000. “The outlook for 2015 is for another strong year, but I don’t anticipate significant growth over 2014 volumes, more likely a small to modest increase”, said MIA chief executive David Crawford.
Sales last year were boosted by demand for commercial vehicles, in part fueled by the Christchurch rebuild, an ever-expanding Auckland and Hamilton, and an overall buoyant rural economy.
MIA figures will show more than 36,000 new registrations in 2014, up around 20 per cent on 2013. Of special interest throughout the year was the month-on-month sales race between the Ford Ranger and the Toyota Hilux.
Ford NZ sales figures show that the Ranger in 2014 ended Hilux’s reign as the best-selling commercial in New Zealand for the past 32 years. Ranger sold 6345 units, said Ford, while preliminary figures show Hilux sold 5784. Ranger sales were helped by a wider range of two-wheel-drive models than Hilux, but the Hilux 4WD variants outsold Ranger 4WDs by around 600 units.
Ford NZ managing director Corey Holter said a lot of attention was put on the Ranger/Hilux sales race. “But we’ve always said it’s about the customer and leaving it up to them to decide. Well, the customer has decided and there is a new number one in New Zealand. We are very proud of the Ford Ranger.”
Toyota might have lost the commercial crown but it basked in the success of the Hilux 4WD variants. “This is another excellent result for Hilux and confirms its iconic status in New Zealand,” said Steve Prangnell, Toyota’s general manager of sales.
“The fact that Hilux 4WD remains on top is testament to the fondness that Kiwis have for the Hilux – and to the public recognition of Hilux 4WD being the perfect ute for the Kiwi terrain and lifestyle.”
Sales of passenger vehicles in 2014 are likely to exceed 90,000. That’s roughly 8000-10,000 up on last year but short of the 97,346 sold in 1973. Back then, of course, the family ‘car’ was a car. These days it’s often a commercial ute.