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Imports strengthen again in March vehicle market


In a month that saw strong sales in all sectors, used imported cars appear to be on track to regain their recent dominance in the New Zealand market

Based on figures just released by NZTA, March sales data shows that while New Zealand new cars enjoyed a strong month with sales of 6,800 units, used imports fared even better with 7,581 units sold.

In the year to date, sales of New Zealand new cars of 19,984 units are up 2 percent, while sales of 21,900 used imported cars are up 16 percent.

2012 saw the difference between sales of New Zealand new and used import cars reduced to just 1,440 units (1.8 percent) – a huge change from the mid 2000’s when used imports dwarfed new car sales by more than two to one. The trend so far in 2013 indicates that the gap between the two markets may well be set to widen further from 2012, MTA spokesman Ian Stronach says.

“The used import side of the business is flourishing under a three way combination of benefits. The Kiwi-Yen cross rate is the best it’s been since 2009, the availability of stock for importers to choose from is improving and there is a growing confidence across all buyers in the market. There are benefits for sellers and for buyers; it’s a healthy situation at present.”

The growth in sales is not just restricted to cars either; used imported commercial vehicles are mirroring the growth seen in their new counterparts.

New Zealand new commercial vehicles performed outstandingly in March with sales of 2,705 units, up 33 percent over March 2012. Used import commercials performed equally as well, albeit at a lower level – sales of 465 units being up 47 percent over the same month last year.

Year to date sales of New Zealand new commercials of 6,761 units are up 42 percent, while sales of used imported commercial sales of 1,254 units are up 48 percent. Heavily affected by the change to emissions regulations in 2009, used import commercial sales have remained at low levels since then, and are only now showing signs of returning to higher volumes. Vans remain the most common model type being imported.

On road motorcycle sales continue to shine in the long dry summer. Sales of 644 units were up 146 units (29 percent) over March 2012. Scooters (under 60cc) were again to the fore with sales of 373 units, up 55 units (17 percent) over the same month last year. For the year to date, on road motorcycle sales are ahead by 222 units (13 percent).

Used imported motorcycles also enjoyed a buoyant month, with year to date sales now 49 units (13 percent) ahead of 2012.

Figures provided by the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA).

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