Pictured: Mazda New Zealand managing director Andrew Clearwater
It was a year of significant firsts for the New Zealand motoring industry in 2015, among them …
- new vehicle registrations topped 130,000
- a light truck, the Ford Ranger, was the best-selling new vehicle
- Mazda broke through the 10,000 sales barrier
- Mercedes-Benz toppled BMW and Audi in the luxury segment
The 134,041 new vehicle registrations last year were the highest in NZ history, up 5.4 per cent on the 127,179 in 2014, said Motor Industry Association CEO David Crawford. Registrations in 2015 were split 94,964 passenger vehicles and 39,077 commercial.
“It (2015) will likely be remembered as the year in which New Zealand new vehicle registrations soared while the economy showed weaker growth in the face of several unfavourable economic indicators at home and abroad,” he said.
“The breadth of new models with increased performance and comfort features, combined with competitive prices and a high level of choice makes New Zealand one of the most competitive new car markets anywhere in the world.”
It also needs to be remembered that registrations don’t mean actual sales. Many of the vehicles registered in 2015 are still sitting in storage or on sales yards. They have yet to be sold to an end user.
Toyota topped the market for the 28thth year in a row with 26,330 registrations, made up of 17,950 passenger vehicles and 8380 commercials. Second was Holden with 14,001, followed by Ford (13,808) and Mazda (10,078).
The big mover in passenger cars last year was Mazda, its 8697 registrations up 30.4 per cent on 6668 in 2014. Subaru was another jumper, up 24.6 per cent for its best-ever year in NZ. Its new Outback – the automotivenews.co.nz car of the year – recorded 1175 registrations, almost doubling the previous best 591 in 2006.
Others to log passenger growth were Ssangyong, up 18 per cent; Mercedes-Benz, 15.6 per cent; Kia 15.2 per cent; Toyota 10.4 per cent; Mitsubishi 7.7 per cent. Those carmakers whose passenger registrations slipped away in 2015 included Audi, down 14.9 per cent on 2014; Ford down 13 per cent; BMW 8 per cent; Suzuki 7.5 per cent; Volkswagen 3 per cent.
Mazda NZ managing director Andrew Clearwater said he was delighted with the recognition the new-generation line-up of models had received. Mazda dominated the country’s car of the year awards. “Twelve months ago we met with our dealer group and set our sights on 2015 being ‘our year’”, he said.
“With five new or all-new models scheduled for release in 2015, and new segment opportunities available to us, our sales forecasts were pointing to a 10,000-unit finish. We look forward to extending this success in 2016.”
Subaru NZ managing director Wallis Dumper said it was humbling to finish 2015 with Subaru sales growth being significantly higher than the industry growth. “At the beginning of the year our ambition was to increase sales year-on-year but to finish 25 per cent ahead was case of our stars aligning,” he said
Mercedes-Benz for the first time ended the stranglehold BMW and Audi have had for many years on the luxury passenger segment. Mercedes-Benz had its strongest ever year in NZ, recording 2095 registrations against BMW’s 1952 and Audi’s 1765.
Mercedes-Benz NZ general manager Ben Giffin said the sales figures underlined the direction of the brand. “In line with our product strategy, we’ve seen fantastic growth year on year across many individual segments, and particularly with our C-Class,” he said. “With a host of new models soon to arrive, we’re in a strong position heading into 2016.”
Toyota and Ford were clear leaders in the 2015 commercial sector, Toyota registering 8380 vehicles and Ford 7750. Holden was third with 3773. Toyota’s registrations were down half a percentage point on 2014; Ford’s were up 9.6 per cent and Holden’s up 17.9 per cent.
Mitsubishi was the big mover in percentage terms, with registrations of its new Triton up 52 per cent over Triton numbers in 2014. Another hitting high notes was Isuzu, its D-Max ute logging 1696 registrations last year to be almost 38 per cent up on 2014.
The Ford Ranger was the country’s No.1 registration, its 6818 numbers topping the Toyota Corolla’s 6514. No. 3 was Toyota Hilux (5623), No. 4 was Holden Colorado (3586), and No. 5 the Toyota RAV4 (3519).