The success of the new Kia Seltos in the past three months clearly shows how sales of SUVs in New Zealand are starting to take even bigger chunks out of those of passenger cars.
SUVs accounted for 50 per cent of the 13,078 new vehicle registrations in January, the first time that one out of every two vehicles registered in a single month has been an SUV.
In January 2019, 44 per cent of an overall 13,938 registrations were SUVs; in January 2018, it was 42.5 per cent of 14,834.
Of the 15 best selling new vehicles last month, 13 were SUVs. In January 2019, nine of the 15 were SUVs. In January 2018, it was 10, according to Motor Industry Association (MIA) figures.
The 6 per cent hike from 44 to 50 per cent in 12 months is in direct relation to the slump in passenger car registrations, down more than 8 per cent on January 2019.
A year ago, such cars – including sports models – accounted for 27 per cent of overall numbers; last month they slid to below 19 per cent. Large cars have been hit most, down 60 per cent from 284 in January 2019 to 114 last month.
Seltos officially went on sale at the beginning of November. It has since logged almost 1000 registrations, including 430 last month when it propelled Kia into third place, behind Toyota and Ford.
Seltos was the second best selling passenger vehicle behind the Toyota RAV4, the people’s choice in the 2019 AA-Driven Car of the Year awards.
It’s another success story for the South Korean carmaker, which sold a record 7064 vehicles last year, 46 per cent (3273) of them Sportage SUV variants. Kia’s 2019 result was a 147 per cent hike on the 2856 vehicles it sold five years ago, in 2014.
MIA chief executive David Crawford expects registrations in 2020 to slow slightly. “As expected, the new year has continued the downward trend set during 2019,” he said. “Expectations for the 2020 year is for it to be about 4 to 5 per cent down on 2019, with the month of January coming in a bit softer than anticipated.”
- Overall January 2020 registrations of 13,078 vehicles were down 6.2 per cen (680 units) on the same month in 2019.
- Battery-electric vehicles were softer with 140 units in January; plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) were up slightly at 88 units; petrol-electric hybrids logged 647 units.
- Registration of 9099 passenger cars and SUVs for January 2020 were down 8.5 per cent (843 units) on 2019 volumes.
- Commercial vehicle registrations were down for a fourth consecutive month at 3979 for January, down 0.4 per cent (17 units) on January 2019.
- The top commercial models for January were the Ford Ranger (885 units), followed by the Toyota RAV4 (569 units) with the Toyota Hilux in third place (473 units).