Motor Trade Association (MTA) says, spurred on by the end of financial year impetus, the strength of the New Zealand dollar, increased product availability and aggressive marketing by many distributors, has seen the new car market continue to perform ahead of expectations in March.
Commenting, MTA spokesperson Ian Stronach, Marketing and Communications General Manager said "March is usually one of the strongest months of the year for new passenger vehicle sales. Many businesses commit to fleet replenishment around the end of the traditional financial year, and it’s also the time for late season rental deliveries. Even though the market had figured these factors in, there are a few operators who have been surprised at the size of the market."
Last month 8,528 new vehicles were sold compared to 8,260 in March 2011, an increase of 268 units (3 percent). Year to date, overall sales are up by 2,207 units (10 percent).
New passenger car sales continue to be the standout segment of the overall market with sales of 6,499 units, which was up 420 units (7 percent) compared to March 2011.
New commercial vehicle sales of 2,029 units were 152 units (7 percent) below March 2011.
Stronach said "There is a good amount of economic optimism out there – certainly more than some commentators had predicted. While commercial vehicle sales have been a little soft, strong new car sales are perhaps reflecting an upswing in our economic fortunes. Their continued robust performance has to be a good sign."
Toyota was the top passenger vehicle brand with sales of 1,005 units (15 percent share) followed by Hyundai with sales of 674 units (10 percent share) who just headed off Holden with 659 units (10 percent share).
Holden’s light car segment offering the Cruze was the most popular passenger car model with sales of 229 units, followed by Suzuki Swift with 227 units and Hyundai i30 with 206 units.
Toyota was the top selling brand amongst commercial vehicles with sales of 504 units (25 percent share) followed by Ford with sales of 280 units (14 percent share), ahead of Nissan with sales of 254 units (13 percent share).
Perennial leader Toyota Hilux was again the best selling commercial vehicle with 280 sales, followed by Nissan Navara with 242 sales and Toyota Hiace with 209 sales.
With sales of 6,429 units, first time used imported passenger cars were down 554 units (8 percent) compared to March 2011. Overall sales year to date in this segment are down by 1,774 units (9 percent).
On road motorcycle sales failed to follow the overall trend. Sales of 498 units, were down by 270 units (35 percent) over March 2011. Despite near record fuel prices, sales of small motorcycles slumped to just 180 units, 50 percent down over March 2011. Year to date, overall sales are up by 161 units (9 percent).
Figures provide by the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA).