Record January registrations in New Zealand point to the usual end-of-year sleight of hand, where many vehicles sold in the last month of the year aren’t registered until the first month of the next year.
That way an unregistered 2016-year vehicle bought in December, for example, appears on the NZ Transport Agency books as first registered in January 2017. It therefore becomes a year younger, in effect.
New passenger car and commercial registrations totaled 13,823 units last month, “the strongest-ever start to a new sales year,” said Motoring Industry Association CEO David Crawford.
The January total comprised 10,150 passenger cars and 3673 commercials, up 14 per cent and 23 per cent respectively on the same month last year. The overall 13,823 total was also up 1930 units (16 per cent) on the 11,893 recorded 12 months ago.
SUVs accounted for 40 per cent of the registrations in the first month of 2017, a hike of 5 per cent over last year’s overall average of 35 per cent. Passenger cars occupied 32 per cent and commercial vehicles 26.5 per cent.
Crawford said the economic environment of 2016 continues as 2017 gets underway. “The key drivers to high levels of new vehicle sales are the continued high levels of net immigration, low costs of debt and a strong national economy,” he said.
The best selling new vehicle last month was the Ford Ranger ute, with 741 registrations, or 47 per cent of Ford’s overall 1566 January numbers. Ranger continues to be the lopsided leader in the Ford fleet. No other Ford apart from Ranger appears among the top 15 passenger cars or commercials.
Second on the sales charts was the Toyota Corolla with 590 units, 387 of them to rental companies. Third was the Toyota RAV4, with 556 sales, 418 as rentals. Toyota’s sales to rental companies in January accounted for around 40 per cent of its 2342 total.
The big mover was South Korea’s Kia, its 603 sales up 127 per cent on the 265 units it registered in January last year. Suzuki was another high-flyer, its 731 numbers up 93 per cent on the 379 of 12 months ago. Mitsubishi didn’t stand still, either – its 866 registrations were up 55 per cent on the 560 of a year ago.
Nor did Holden, its 1764 units in January up 42 per cent on the 1244 of January 2016. The Captiva (362) and Commodore (348) represented 40 per cent of Holden numbers.
Rental agencies took 55 per cent (197) of the Captivas, 67 per cent (234) of the Commodores, and an overall 44 per cent of Holden’s January sales. The Australian-built Commodore is now in its last year of production.
Toyota was the overall market leader with 17 per cent market share (2342 units), followed by Holden with 13 per cent (1764) and Ford with 11 per cent (1566).
Toyota was also the market leader for passenger and SUV registrations with a 16 per cent share (1644), followed by Holden with 14 per cent (1381) and Mazda with 8 per cent (779).
In the commercial sector, Ford was the market leader with 21 per cent (788 units), followed by Toyota with 19 per cent (698) and Holden with 10 per cent (383).