There is nothing new in sales of utes and SUVs continuing to dominate the new car market in New Zealand, but there is an historic shift happening in the premium passenger car sector – and that’s the emergence of Mercedes-Benz as the front-runner.
Heading towards the second half of 2015, Benz leads BMW and Audi in sales of passenger cars, according to Motor Industry Association figures. That’s a first for Benz in more than 25 years, or since BMW and Audi began to establish a foothold in NZ in the 1980s.
Benz has pretty much always been the leading German marque in NZ but only because of its commercial division. BMW and Audi don’t have vans and the like to include in overall sales.
But never before in passenger sales has Benz ever had the edge on BMW and Audi. It might have pipped one or the other in monthly numbers, but it has never led the premium sector after five months. A the end of May Benz had sold 852 passenger cars to BMW’s 836 and Audi’s 808.
“It’s going to be an exciting second half for us too, because we have new product arriving here in quarter three and four,” he said. One of the upcoming models is the GLC, a mid-size SUV to rival the BMW X3 and Audi Q5, among others.
The GLC pictured here was spied near the factory in Germany, undisguised except for tape around front and rear lights. It will slot into a segment which, in the first five months of 2015, accounted for 32 per cent of overall sales, or almost three out of every 10 new vehicles.
In May alone, eight of the top 15 passenger vehicles and 34 per cent of overall sales were SUVs. Utes and cab/chassis occupied 23 per cent and small passenger cars 13 per cent.
The most popular vehicle in May was the Ford Ranger ute (511 sales) followed by its segment rivals the Toyota Hilux (404), Nissan Navara (385) and Holden Colorado (313). The best-selling passenger car was the Toyota Corolla (310).
The top five sellers for the first five months of 2015 were the Ranger (2307), Hilux (2102), Corolla (1963), Navara (1531), and Colorado (1326). “While the sales of new commercial vehicles dropped slightly for the month of May compared to May 2014, New Zealanders’ love affair with utes continues to see these models gaining market share,” said MIA chief executive David Crawford.
Top 10 passenger cars at the end of May 2015
Toyota Corolla (1963); Holden Commodore (1243); Toyota RAV4 (1153); Mazda CX-5 (1025); Suzuki Swift (1011); Hyundai IX35 (998); Mazda3 (994); Toyota Yaris (939); Honda Jazz (905); Holden Captiva (887).
Top 10 commercials at the end of May 2015
Ford Ranger (2307); Toyota Hilux (2102); Nissan Navara (1531); Holden Colorado (1326); Toyota Hiace (974); Mitsubishi Triton (937); Isuzu D-Max (675); Mazda BT-50 (509); Volkswagen Amarok (412); Ford Transit (405).