Registrations of traditional passenger sedans and hatchbacks have tumbled over the past five years, as New Zealanders move towards SUVs and utes. In August 2013, for instance, the Holden Commodore sat at No. 5 on the top 15 list. Last month it was No. 10. A month earlier it was No. 11.
Five years ago the Holden Cruze, Toyota Yaris, Mazda3, Ford Focus, Volkswagen Golf, Hyundai i30 were among the top 15 best sellers. This year only the Mazda3 remains on the list – at No. 15. In 2013 it was No. 10.
The Suzuki Swift was No. 2 after eight months of 2013, with 1888 registrations. Now it is at No. 6, with 1648. There were six SUVs in the top 15 vehicles at August 2013; now there are 11.
At the end of last month the passenger car segment – small, light, medium, large – accounted for 25,059 vehicles, or 24 per cent of the 103,923 on the Motor Industry Association (MIA) books. In eight months of 2013 the same segment totaled 31,729 registrations, or 43 per cent of the 73,279 vehicles recorded by the MIA.
The fall from 43 per cent to 24 per cent of the market is actually a greater slump in passenger car numbers once overall five-year growth is taken into account: registrations so far this year are up 42 per cent on the same period in 2013, from 73,279 to 103,923.
It’s also the first time since records began in 1975 that new-vehicle registrations passed 100,000 after eight months. “The quickest ever in a calendar year,” said MIA chief executive David Crawford.
“By way of comparison, at the height of the global financial crisis in 2009 there were only 45,384 vehicles sold to the end of August, compared to 103,923 this year – a 129 per cent increase.
“The mix of vehicles registered in August shows changing consumer preferences. While passenger car and SUV registrations of 8607 units were down 3.2 per cent (289 units) on August 2016, registrations of 4456 commercial vehicles last month were up by 17.9 per cent (675 units) on August 2016.”
The weakest growth among the main players in the past five years has been that of Hyundai’s. Year-to-date August 2013 it had sold 5252 vehicles. Last month it had sold 5264 – that’s a 0.2 per cent hike, almost zero growth.
Its South Korean affiliate Kia, on the other hand, has been the high flyer in the past five years. Its Sportage SUV is now the best-selling passenger car in NZ, once rentals have been taken off Toyota Corolla and RAV4 numbers.
Here’s the best then-and-now YTD August 2013/August 2017 figures, including the sales percentage increase:
- Kia up 136 per cent (1951-4608)
- Subaru up 97 per cent (1144-2258)
- Mitsubishi up 93 per cent (3878-7475)
- Mercedes-Benz up 88 per cent (1265-2379)
- Mazda up 71 per cent (4734-8080)
- Honda up 45 per cent (2179-3164)
- Ford up 43 per cent (7961-11,438)
- Suzuki up 40 per cent (3478-4875)
- Market leader Toyota’s sales have grown 28 per cent (14,176-18,147)
Of the luxury nameplates (passenger cars only):
- Mercedes-Benz up 80 per cent (981-1761)
- Audi up 9.3 per cent (1298-1419)
- BMW down 4 per cent (1373-1318)
Some other comparisons: SUV registrations to the end of last month totaled 40,621, or 39 per cent of the 103,923 vehicles. In eight months of 2013 they totaled 19,976, or 27 per cent of 73,279.
How about 2WD and 4WD utes: 25,092 were registered in eight months this year, or 24 per cent of overall sales. At the end of August 2013, there were 13,860 utes on the MIA books, or 19 per cent of 73,279.
In four years overall ute sales have jumped 81 per cent – 25,092 now, 13,860 then. Here’s another breakout, after eight months of 2013 compared with eight months of 2017.
- Isuzu D-Max up 245 per cent (519-1791)
- Mitsubishi Triton up 206 per cent (898-2748)
- Ford Ranger up 113 per cent (2967-6320)
- Holden Colorado up 100 per cent (1532-3075)
- Toyota Hilux up 72 per cent (3196-5497)
- Mazda BT-50 up 64 per cent (910-1490)
- Volkswagen Amarok up 12 per cent (557-626)
- Nissan Navara up 10 per cent (1988-2187)