New vehicle registrations last month totaled 13,884 units, the best September on record and the second-best month since the 13,983 in July 1984. That was when New Zealanders spent up large before the incoming Labour Government’s finance minister Roger Douglas devalued a considerably overvalued NZ dollar.
History buffs will remember it as a constitutional crisis. At the centre of it was intractable National Party leader and Prime Minister Rob Muldoon, who had called a snap election. Muldoon lost and Labour leader David Lange became the new PM.
The topsy-turvy election wasn’t the only main event of 1984. Months later a power failure at a rock concert in Auckland’s Aotea Square began what was headlined the next morning as ‘the Queen Street riot’.
Frustrated rock fans waiting for the power to be restored began throwing bottles at police. More police arrived equipped with riot gear. The concert was stopped and fans poured into Queen Street, smashing shop windows and (pictured above) overturning cars. Damaged was estimated at more than $1 million.
Vehicle registrations in 1984 totaled 123,247 units. Fast forward 32 years and Motor Industry Association chief executive David Crawford is considering 140,000 units for the first time, eclipsing last year’s record 134,000, the best since records began in 1975.
“Record immigration, high levels of economic activity in Auckland and elsewhere and record low interest rates are combining to give consumers and business confidence to purchase big ticket items,” he said.
The leader of the new vehicle pack is the Ford Ranger ute. It has averaged 711 sales a month since the beginning of the year and should it continue to do so would end up with around 8500 at the end of December, a likely record for a model line in a calendar year in NZ.
MIA figures at the end of September show Ranger had logged 6406 registrations, making it No.1 by a country mile. The second-best seller was the Toyota Hilux (4787) and the third the Toyota Corolla (3580).
The overall market itself had recorded 107,122 new units against 99,557 for the same nine-month period in 2015, a year-on-year hike of 7.6 per cent and growth that will almost certainly mean record numbers.
Last month’s 13,884 registrations were made up of 9704 passenger and SUV vehicles and 4180 commercials. Toyota was the overall leader with 17 per cent market share (2422 units), followed by Holden on 12 per cent (1636) and Ford with 10 per cent (1454).
Toyota also led passenger and SUV sales with a 17 per cent share (1692). Holden was second with 12 per cent (1197) and Mazda third with 9 per cent (883). Ford had 20 per cent (835 units) of the commercial sector, followed by Toyota with 17 per cent (730) and Holden with 11 per cent (439).
The Toyota Corolla was the top selling passenger model in September with 481 units, followed by the Hyundai Tucson (345) and Kia Sportage (288). SUVs accounted for 36 per cent of registrations; passenger cars were at 33 per cent and light commercials 25 per cent.