Sales of new vehicles in 2014 are expected to top those of a record 2013, the best year for the New Zealand motor industry since 1984.
The 2014 forecast of more buoyancy comes on the back of economists claiming New Zealand will experience some of the highest growth in the OECD, the global Organisation for Co-operation and Development.
The OECD predicts the NZ economy will expand as post-earthquake reconstruction in Christchurch helps to drive investment and strengthening labour markets support consumption.
The outlook, says Ford NZ managing director Corey Holter, will further grow the new car market .
“Our initial forecast for the year sees sales increasing even more – for Ford and the industry as a whole,” said Holter.
“If the growth continues as expected, we see overall new car sales approaching the 115,000 mark.”
Such growth would mean sales of more than 35 new vehicles a week over record 2013 numbers of 113,177 units, made up of 82,355 passenger cars and 30,822 commercials, including trucks. The result was an increase of 12,322 vehicles (12.2 per cent) over 2012 sales, say Motor Industry Association figures.
The standout feature of the 2013 sales year was demand for two pick-up trucks, the Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger. The Toyota Corolla (5993) might have been the best-selling vehicle in 2013 – but Hilux was No. 2 and Ranger No. 3. The Suzuki Swift (2968) was No. 4.
Three segments dominated 2013 sales: sports utility vehicles, pick-up trucks and small cars accounted for almost two out of every three new vehicles sold.
The three totaled 73,225 sales for a combined 64.6 per cent share of the overall market. SUV sales were 30,478 (27 per cent), pick-ups 21,236 (18.7 per cent), and small cars 21,511 (19 per cent). The next strongest segment was light vehicles (14,722), followed by medium (7852) and vans (5261).
Large car sales ended the year at 5064 units for just over 4 per cent of the market, a world away from the 25 per cent share Holden Commodores and Ford Falcons enjoyed a decade or so ago. The Commodore, however, continued to dominate the segment, selling 2761 units last year for a 54.5 per cent share.
Sales of 30,822 commercials (28,709 of which were diesel-powered) were at an all-time high. But, for the first time in many years, the ubiquitous Toyota Hilux didn’t dominate the segment, being challenged every which way in 2013 by the Ford Ranger.
Hilux finished with 5041 sales (16.3 per cent) against Ranger’s 4924 (15.9 per cent). The result for Ford was growth of 75 per cent over 2012 for the Ranger model line. Way back in third place was the Nissan Navara with 2690 sales (9 per cent).
Toyota topped the overall market for the 26thth year in a row with total registrations of 23,705 vehicles (16,172 passenger cars and 7533 commercials). Ford finished second with 12,839 units and Holden third with 11,722.
The luxury division was headed by Mercedes-Benz with sales of 2049 units followed by BMW (1907) and Audi (1820). Mercedes-Benz (like other carmakers) includes commercial vehicles in its numbers, whereas BMW and Audi don’t have such vehicles. Take out the vans and leave the cars and the numbers read differently: BMW 1907, Audi 1820, Mercedes-Benz 1482. Nevertheless, badge for badge, Mercedes-Benz is the luxury segment leader.
• Sure it’s a number’s game but the growth of Hyundai and its South Korean subsidiary Kia is significant. Fourth-placed Hyundai sold 7762 new vehicles last year and 11th-placed Kia 2805. Combined, that’s 10,567 units, or 9.3 per cent of the 2013 market.