New vehicle sales in October in New Zealand were the strongest since records began in 1975 – and leading the way in terms of growth towards what will certainly be an overall record year is South Korea’s Kia.
There were 14,709 new registrations last month, the most since July 1984 when 13,983 were recorded, according to Motor Industry Association (MIA) records.
Sales at the end of last month totaled 121,815, an average of 12,181 a month since the beginning of January this year. That’s a gain of 9598 a month over the 112,217 at the end of October last year.
MIA president John Manley – the managing director of Nissan NZ – said the record numbers indicated a strong economy. “Sales are a barometre of business and consumer confidence and the record month shows there is indeed plenty of it,” he said.
Kia Motors NZ is the high flyer. Its sales are up 68 per cent on the same ten-month period last year, growth largely spearheaded by the new Sportage SUV, the third most popular passenger car in the country. This time last year Kia had registered 2701 new vehicles – last month the MIA had it down for 4539.
Incidentally, the Kia Sportage has done something no other vehicle tested by German magazine Auto Bild has managed – complete a trouble-free 100,000km. It became the first car in the magazine’s long history to do so. The annual dependability test is done in association with automotive research group J D Power.
Another big mover in the NZ market this year is Japan’s Isuzu, its 1993 ute numbers up 36 per cent on the 1468 at the same time last year. Yet another is Suzuki, with 4466 sales at the end of last month, up 20 per cent on the 3271 at October last year.
The best-selling vehicle in the country is still the Ford Ranger ute, responsible for the company’s year-on-year growth of 26 per cent. This time last year Ford had registered 5527 Rangers; last month there were 7173 on the MIA books. Overall Ford sales at October were 14,313; last year at the same time they stood at 11,366.
As far as percentage growth is concerned Ford is clearly ahead of its main rivals, Toyota and Holden. Toyota was the leader with sales of 21,590 vehicles at the end of last month, only half-a-percentage point ahead of the 21,492 at the same time last year.
Holden, too, is low on the growth charts, its sales of 11,730 new vehicles for 10 months of 2016 up just 0.8 per cent on the 11,633 at the same time in 2015. Its Commodore, however, is still NZ’s second favourite car, after the Toyota Corolla.
Others are enjoying greater percentage growth. Subaru’s sales are up 15 per cent year-on-year. Mazda and Mitsubishi are up 10 per cent; Nissan 9 per cent; Honda 7 per cent. Hyundai is in red territory, its 6971 numbers down -3.7 per cent on the 7242 at the same time last year.
The two best selling passenger cars at the end of October were the Toyota Corolla (4789) and Toyota RAV4 (2810). Topping the ute list were the Ranger (7173) and Toyota Hilux (5299).
Of the prestige marques, Mercedes-Benz is the runaway leader, its 2083 passenger cars at the end of October running 20 per cent up the 1728 it did in 10 months in 2015.
MIA figures show its German rivals BMW and Audi in red numbers so far this year. BMW had slipped -5 per cent with 1552 sales against last year’s 1635. Audi was down -4.3 per cent, from 1575 last year to 1507 last month.