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Car sales flat in first month of 2009


Bet you weren’t expecting this – New Zealand new car sales were flat in January, and almost a third lower than in the same month of 2008

It’d be nice to say, “yeah right,” to that news but figures out today say Kiwis bought 5425 new cars in January, one percent more than they did in December but 30 percent down on January of last year.

Dealers’ association, MTA, says January sales traditionally get the new year off to a fast start – but not this year.

The MTA’s Andy Cuming says January 2008 was “a blockbuster, and an all time record due to a large number of deliveries to rental company fleets.

“Those sales weren’t there in January this year, and as a consequence sales are down 30 percent on 2008.”

Used import sales were even harder hit – 14  percent lower than in December and 42 percent down on January last year.

“This continues the lower levels evident from mid-2008, as used imports have been restricted by higher emissions standards being applied, ruling out the continued importing of older model cars,” says Cuming.

But the MTA says it’s not all gloom, not as far as potential buyers are concerned.

“There should be an element of resilience in the New Zealand car market over the next several months, despite the gloom and doom global economic scene,” says Cuming.

“Most manufacturers and importers have signalled multiple price rises throughout 2009, from a combination of weakened currency and overseas cost increases.

“This means that the stock of both new cars and used import cars at present in dealer showrooms represent the best opportunities for car buyers looking to beat the price rises.

“Feedback from MTA dealers points to savvy buyers taking up these opportunities, and we anticipate that this will provide an incentive over the next couple of months.

“Dealers may not have so much ‘room to move’ on sticker prices, but most industry observers believe prices now are as good as they get.”

Toyota still led the new car chart in January with 1038 sales, for a market share of 19.6 percent. Ford was in second place with 707 sales for 13.3 percent, followed by Holden 685 (12.9 percent), Mazda 448 (8.5 percent), and Honda 358 (6.8 percent).


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