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Electronic card spending up 1.8%

Total card spending across all industries was up 1.8 per cent in the March 2018 quarter when adjusted for seasonal effects, Stats NZ said.

Spending rose across all six of the retail industries in the March quarter. The largest rises came from the consumables (grocery and liquor retailing) industry, up $125 million (2.2 percent) and the hospitality industry, up $87 million (2.9 percent).

“The rise in retail card spending in the March quarter was driven by an increase in grocery and liquor spending,” retail manager Sue Chapman said. “

This was the largest increase in grocery and liquor retailing since December 2010 and coincided with a record increase in spending in the March month.

The motor vehicle industry dropped by 1.8 per cent or $3.2 million last month compared with February 2018. However, the vehicle industry in the March 2018 quarter was up by $7.5 million or 1.5 per cent compared with the December 2017 quarter.

 

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Tesla tops electric chart

The Tesla Model S

Tesla continues to lead sales of pure electric vehicles (EVs), according to statistics for the first quarter of 2018. The Model S notched up 44 registrations and the Model X came third with 37 with Hyundai’s Ioniq sandwiched between them on 39.

By comparison, in the first three months of 2017 Model S sales came in at 32 and 10 Model Xs were registered.

During the whole of last year, the Models S and Model X racked up 128 and 116 sales respectively, according to Motor Industry Association statistics. These figures made Tesla New Zealand’s top-selling brand in the pure EV class in which 546 units were registered overall.

Sales of cars other than those powered by petrol or diesel are still led by plug-in hybrids. They accounted for the bulk of 797 registrations in the “other” category for the first quarter of 2017.

Toyota dominates this segment with three of its hybrids – the Corolla with 195 sales, the Camry on 103 and the Prius C with 88 – commanding a market share of 57 per cent.

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Market for new vehicles remains strong

David Crawford, Chief Executive Officer of the Motor Industry Association says “March new vehicle registrations of 14,028 vehicles were up 1 per cent (159 units) on March 2017 reflecting a stable market. Year to date the market is up 2 per cent (916 units) compared to the first three months of 2017.”

Registrations of 9,050 passenger and SUV vehicles for the month of March were down 2 per cent (180 units) on March 2017. However, registrations of 4,978 commercial vehicles continues to grow strongly being up 7 per cent (339 units) on March 2017.”

Toyota remains the overall market leader with 17% market share (2,421 units), followed by Ford with 11% (1,551 units) and Mitsubishi with 8% market share (1,104 units).

Toyota was also the market leader for passenger and SUV registrations with 13 per cent market share (1,196 units) followed by Mazda with 9 per cent (858 units) and Mitsubishi with 8 per cent market share (722 units).

In the commercial sector, Toyota remained the market leader with 25 per cent market share (1,225 units) followed by Ford with 21 per cent (1,047 units) and Holden with 9 per cent market share (427 units).

The top four selling models for the month of March were all light commercial vehicles. The Toyota Hilux was back at the top of the bestselling vehicle model table with 915 units. This was closely followed by the Ford Ranger with 912 units and the Holden Colorado with 427 units.

The SUV medium segment regained the top segment for the month of March with 18 per cent market share. This was followed by the Pick Up/Chassis Cab 4×4 segment also with 16 per cent of the market, and the SUV compact with 13 per cent market share.

“The market for new vehicles is mature and remains strong, said Mr Crawford

“The economic factors of the past two years are still largely present with strong net immigration, affordable prices and strong economy.” 

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Total electronic card spending flat

Total card spending across all industries was relatively flat (up 0.1 per cent) in February 2018, when adjusted for seasonal effects, Stats NZ said on Friday.

Retail card spending dipped 0.3 percent in February, after five consecutive monthly increases. 

“February’s decline was led by a 0.5 percent fall in spending on consumables, which includes grocery and liquor retailing,” retail manager Sue Chapman said. 

“This is the first decrease in the consumables group since May 2017 and could be the effect of people hunkering down during the two ex-tropical cyclones that hit this month.” 

The motor vehicle industry was the only industry with relatively good growth, with a 2.3 per cent or $3.9 million increase compared with January 2018.

Spending was quiet across the rest of the give retail industries. There was little or no change in durables (includes hardware, furniture, and appliances), hospitality (accommodation, bars, cafes, restaurants, and takeaways), apparel (clothing and footwear), and fuel. 

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New vehicle registrations slightly down

February 2018’s new vehicle registrations are slightly down on February 2017, according to the Motor Industry Association’s (MIA) latest statistics.

David Crawford, chief executive officer of the MIA

David Crawford, Chief Executive Officer of the MIA says “February new vehicle registrations of 11,531 vehicles were down 2 per cent (254 units) on February 2017 reflecting a mature and stable market. Year to date the market is up 3 per cent (751 units) compared to the first two months of 2017.”

Registrations of 7,415 passenger and SUV vehicles for the month of February were down 8 per cent (637 units) on February 2017. However, registrations of 4,116 commercial vehicles continues to grow strongly being up 10 per cent on February 2017.”

Toyota remains the overall market leader with 17 per cent market share (1,959 units), followed by Ford with 10 per cent (1,183 units) and Holden with 8 per cent market share (968 units).

Toyota was also the market leader for passenger and SUV registrations with 14 per cent market share (1013 units) followed by Mazda with 10 per cent (773 units) and Holden with 8 per cent market share (602 units).

In the commercial sector, Toyota regained the market lead with 23 per cent market share (946 units) followed by Ford with 19 per cent (788 units) and Nissan with 9 per cent  market share (384 units).

The top four selling models for the month of February were all light commercial vehicles. The Ford Ranger was back at the top of the bestselling vehicle model table with 735 units. This was followed by the Toyota Hilux with 703 units and the Nissan Navara with 384 units.

With the record number of commercial vehicles sold during the month of February it came as no surprise to see the Pickup/Chassis Cab 4×4 segment as the top segment with 17 per cent of the market for the month. The SUV medium segment accounted for 16% of the market, followed by the SUV compact with 12 per cent market share.

“While the market for new vehicles remains strong, some vehicle segments were constrained by low stocks levels, which will continue into the foreseeable future.” said Mr Crawford.

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Unemployment falls to a nine-year low

December Quarter 

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 4.5 per cent in the December 2017 quarter, down from 4.6 percent last quarter, Stats NZ said today.

“This quarter’s unemployment rate is the lowest since the December 2008 quarter, when it was 4.4 percent,” labour market and household statistics senior manager Jason Attewell said.

“However, the underutilisation rate was just over 12 percent –reflecting about 340,000 New Zealanders with potential to work more. This measure is just as important as the unemployment rate.”

Underutilisation is a measure of the potential labour supply and unmet need for work.

The unemployment rate for the December 2017 quarter remains considerably above New Zealand’s lowest unemployment rate, which was 3.3 percent, recorded a decade ago in the December 2007 quarter, immediately before the global financial crisis.

Unemployment rate, seasonally adjusted, December 2008 to December 2017. Source: Stats NZ

December yearly

Annually, employment increased 3.7 percent, with men and women contributing almost equally to the increase. Nearly one-quarter of employment growth came from 25–29-year-olds, while just over one-fifth came from the 30–34-year-old age group. 

In the year to the December 2017 quarter, unadjusted employment (as measured by the HLFS) increased across a number of industries. The key contributor was the professional, scientific, technical, administrative, and support services industry – up 25,900 (8.5 percent). 

Approximately one-third of the increase in employment for the professional, scientific, technical, administrative, and support services industry occurred in Wellington.

Most of this growth was seen in the sub-industries: architectural, engineering, and technical services (up 4,600); and building, cleaning, pest control, and gardening services (up 1,700).

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Record January for used imported cars

A continuation of the buoyant used imported passenger vehicle market was evident last month with 13,719 registrations, an increase of 6.1 per cent on January 2017’s 12,933 units.

This was the best January sales of used imported cars on record.

Toyota was once again the top-selling used import car brand for January with 3,232 sales, which was a decrease of 4.8 per cent on the 3,396 units in same month of last year. The marque starts the year with a market share of 23.6 per cent – a fall of 2.7 per cent on the same month last year.

Nissan held onto second with 2,629 sales last month – a jump of 15.9 per cent on January 2017’s 2,268 units. It holds 19.2 per cent of the market share.

Mazda was third on 2,310 registrations, which was a healthy increase of 16.7 per cent on the same month of last year, and has a market share of 16.8 per cent.

The battle for top used car model was close with the Mazda Axela back in the top spot, but only by 34 units, while the Suzuki Swift was second and the Mazda Demio was third – bumping the Nissan Tiida into fourth. There were 653 Axela sold during January –  up by 7.8 per cent on the same month of last year; Swift registrations totalled 619 units –  an increase of 14.2 per cent, and 588 Demio sales – a remarkable jump of 26.5 per cent.

The three models hold 4.8 per cent, 4.5 per cent and 4.3 per cent of the monthly market share respectively.

The regions that performed best when compared to the same month a year earlier were Wanganui, up 112 per cent from 63 in 2017 to 134 units last month, with Rotorua and Invercargill rounding out the top three, up 67 per cent and 40 per cent respectively.

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Used imported commercials steady

There were 1,024 used imported commercial vehicles sold last month, a 10.3 per cent increase compared to January 2017, when 928 vehicles were registered.

Many regions around New Zealand saw gains in used commercial vehicle registrations in January.

Toyota topped the ladder on 441 units, a 9.2 per cent increase compared to 404 in the same month last year for a market share of 43.1 per cent.

Nissan came second with 210 units, which was an increase of 6.6 per cent compared to January 2016, resulting in a market share of 20.5 per cent.

Sales of Mazdas decreased by 6 per cent from 83 in January 2016 to 78 last month.

The Toyota Hiace remained the dominant model, with a 33.4 per cent market share and sales of 342 last month. This was nearly 300 ahead of the Mazda Bongo and the Nissan Caravan, who were both in joint second place with sales of 65 units.

Many regions around New Zealand saw gains in used commercial vehicle registrations in January. Out of the main centres, Christchurch was the standout, with dealerships selling 123 units in the month of January – a 39.8 per cent increase from 88 at the same time last year.

Both Whangarei and Dunedin had steady increases compared to January last year, with 47.8 and 37.0 per cent respectively.

 

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Strong start for vehicle sales in Australia

Motor vehicle sales across Australia got off to a strong start in 2018 with record breaking sales in January, according to the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries’ (FCAI) latest statistics. 

Total sales for January, including passenger cars, SUVs, light and heavy commercial vehicles totalled 88,551 (up 4.3 per cent) for the month in comparison to January 2017, with significant growth in SUV and Light Commercial segments.

Tony Weber, chief executive of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries.

The Chief Executive of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, Tony Weber, noted the strong sales which reflected the ongoing value in the current market underpinned by significant competition between the many brands available in Australia.

“2017 was a record year for the industry and we’re pleased to see that strength continuing in the January 2018 sales results. Notably there was very strong growth in business sales of SUVs and Light Commercials,” Mr Weber said.

Within January 2018 segments , there were some significant increases in sales compared to the SUV and light commercial segments in January 2017 , with sales of small and medium SUVs up 25.5 per cent and 19.2 per cent respectively.

Similarly, sales of 4X4 Light Commercials were up by 26.6 per cent. Passenger motor vehicles declined by 8.7 per cent compared to January 2017, although passenger vehicles alone still account for a significant 36 per cent of the total market.

The nation’s top five best – selling vehicles in January were the Toyota Hilux (3,860) followed by the Ford Ranger (3,260), the Mazda3 (3,201), Toyota Corolla (2 ,776) and the Mazda CX.

Toyota led the market in January with a 17.3 per cent share, followed by Mazda (11. 4 per cent), Hyundai (8.0), Holden (6.5) and Ford (6.4).

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Vehicle Imports down on last year

There was a significant drop in used imported passenger vehicles in January when compared to December 2017.

Motor vehicle dealers imported 10,423 used cars last month, down 20.4 per cent from 13,097 imports in December, and it was a fall of 1.51 per cent against January 2017’s total of 10,583.

There was a 6.5 per cent fall in new car imports when compared to the same month of last year – with 7,933 new cars crossing the boarder last month, down 556 units on January 2017’s total of 8,489.

Light commercial imports also fell, with used down 10.5 per cent compared to 551 units in January 2017. There was an 18 per cent fall in new light commercials – from 2,968 units in January 2017 to 2,431 last month.

Used car imports from Japan totaled 9,660, down only slightly (37 units) 0.4 per cent on the same month last year

Imported used cars from the UK were down 55.7 per cent compared to January last year when 273 units came in, last month that total was 121 units.

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Isuzu’s long-term dominance

Isuzu Trucks have cemented their dominance over the New Zealand market by achieving an unprecedented 18-years as number one.

Colin Muir, General Manager.

“Since the year 2000, Isuzu Trucks has been the top selling truck brand in New Zealand, which is an unprecedented achievement,” said General Manager of Isuzu Trucks New Zealand, Colin Muir.

“There are very few brands in the entire automotive industry, even considering a global perspective, which can claim such dominance.”

Isuzu Trucks and its dealers achieved 1,305 registrations for the year, which is a new record – beating the old record which was set only last year. 

This resulted in Isuzu enjoying a 25.6 per cent share of the new truck market, meaning just over one of every four new trucks sold were from the Isuzu brand.

“The quality, performance and all-round durability of Isuzu Trucks has contributed to this ongoing success, as has a dealer network which is really stepping up in terms of exceeding customer expectations,” said Mr Muir.

“We’re really excited about our prospects heading into 2018, especially with a new offering in the Euro dominated HPMV tipper market with the newly launched 500+ HP CYZ530 6×4.  We have every confidence we can continue this remarkable run of form.”

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