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Toyota takes out double

A bumper December has resulted in sales of new passenger vehicles coming in at 108,608 last year – 5.8 per cent ahead of 2016’s total of 102,644.

There were 8,151 units registered in the last month of 2017, which was a one per cent rise from 8,069 in December of the previous year.

The top-selling model for the year and month was Toyota’s Corolla on 7,801 units for 2017 and 1,116 in December, which represented an annual market share of 7.2 per cent. The RAV4 was second for the year on 4,635 and 4.3 per cent. Third spot went to the Kia Sportage with a market share of 3.3 per cent thanks to 3,559 sales.

The Corolla was 2017’s best-selling new passenger vehicle.

The marques ladder for 2017 was also topped by Toyota on 20,919 units and a market share of 19.3 per cent. Mazda took the runners-up spot with 9,927 units and 9.1 per cent. Holden secured an 8.9 share with 9,709 registrations to come third.

Overall, Toyota NZ is celebrating 30 years as the dominant brand for passenger and light commercial vehicles in this country. In 2017, its 68 dealers sold 33,008 new vehicles for a 20.7 per cent share of the market, according to the marque. It says this was up by 5,533 on 2016 for a jump of 20.1 per cent.

Neeraj Lala, general manager of new-vehicle sales, expects Toyota to remain at the top in 2018. “We have another exciting year ahead with a number of significant new models, including an updated Hilux. We expect market growth to continue, particularly in the SUV segment where we have six models.”

Another marque patting itself on the back is Mitsubishi Motors NZ, which reports overall growth of 29 per cent year on year.

“The Outlander has been a Kiwi family favourite for some time and the ASX resonates with a broad range of New Zealanders,” says Daniel Cook, general manager of vehicle sales and marketing. “With the Eclipse Cross having joined the family, we’re confident of continuing our market-leading growth in 2018.”

Cook describes breaking through 10,000 overall new-vehicle sales during 2017 as “massive – we set this target for a calendar year back in 2009 and haven’t let up since”.

Eight years of year-on-year growth have seen Mitsubishi increase its total car and light commercial market share to 7.4 per cent supported by “new releases, updates and a comprehensive approach to customer service”. It says it has been ahead of the curve in key areas – especially with ute and SUV sales.

“We have also kept innovation at the forefront of our new releases, such as the Outlander PHEV, New Zealand’s most popular plug-in hybrid SUV,” adds Cook. “We still have some big ambitions, so it’s important we set ourselves a challenge to build on recent success. We’re operating in a dynamic, highly competitive market offering more choice to consumers than ever.”

Last year was one that entered Subaru of New Zealand’s record books with more than 3,000 units sold. Its 3,347 new-car sales secured a market share of 3.1 per cent.

Managing director Wallis Dumper says that by November the marque was 27 per cent ahead year on year from 2016. The Outback made up nearly half of its total sales achieved in 2017. After a good 2016, it exceeded sales expectations to sit 15 per cent ahead last year.

“There has been remarkable demand for the new XV,” says Dumper. “The high numbers flying out of our dealerships means we don’t have enough supply to keep up with demand. In response to the unprecedented demand for our eight-model range of Boxer-engined beauties, we have received more production allocation from Japan.

“We were targeting this never-achieved-before figure of 3,000 sales at the beginning of last year and couldn’t have done it without our 16 partners across New Zealand.”

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An impressive year for used passenger vehicles

2017 has been an impressive year for the sales of used imported passenger vehicles.

2017 highlights
In terms of year-on-year sales, there were 165,654 used imported cars registered in 2017, a huge 16,128 units or 10.8 per cent more than the same period in 2016, when 149,526 units were sold.

Toyota cemented its place as the number-one used imported car brand. It sold 41,692 units in 2017 for a market share of 25.2 per cent, Nissan and Mazda were second and third place , respectively with 31,190 and 25,594 units sold, respectively and an 18.8 and 15.5 per cent market share for the past 12 months.

The Nissan Tiida had the most sales for the year, with a total of 7,358 and a market share of 4.4 per cent. The usual culprits were inIn a very close second place, the Mazda Axela ended with a market share for the year of 4.4 percent and 7,319 sales, followed by the Suzuki Swift with 6,958 sales and a market share of 4.2 per cent.

It was also no surprise that the vast majority of used imported cars continued to come from Japan. There were 160,822 used cars imported from Japan during 2017, giving it a market share of 93.8 per cent.

December highlights

December 2017 increased 7.0 per cent on the same month last yearfrom 2016 with 14,102 sales compared to 13,181 in December 2016.

Importers brought in 12,283 used cars from Japan – a 9.9 per cent increase on December 2016. There was a fall in used car imports from Australia and the UK compared to the same month last year. Australia ended December on 435 units, a decrease of 7.4 per cent and the UK with 104 units, a decrease of 48.3 per cent.

The Mazda Demio was the number-one selling used import for December with 637 sales, a 30.8 per cent increase on December 2016’s 487. The Demio outnumbered the Nissan Tiida, who ended on 615 sales, a decrease of 20.6 per cent compared to the same period in 2016.

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Another great year for used commercials

2017 was another great year for used commercial vehicles, with the sector showing an overall healthy increase in registrations.

2017 highlights
In total, 13,032 used commercial vehicles were registered in 2017, a massive 18.8 per cent increase on the previous full year, where 10,967 used commercial imports were registered in New Zealand.

Toyota remained on top with 5,936 registrations during 2017, ending the year with a market share of 45.5 per cent, while its Hiace claimed the biggest market share of all models with 34.3 per cent thanks to 4,465 registrations in this sector.

The Nissan Caravan was runner-up in the models chart with 953 registrations for a 7.3 per cent share of the overall total, while Mazda’s Bongo came third and achieved 728 and 5.6 per cent. Toyota’s Regius finished fourth on 518 units to claim a 4 per cent market share.

Nissan came second on the marques ladder with 2,781 units for a market share of 21.3 per cent, while Mazda finished third with 874 and 6.7 per cent and Isuzu was fourth with 5.2 per cent and 676 units.

Nearly all regions around New Zealand saw gains in 2017. Key highlights were Wellington where 820 vehicles were registered compared to only 524 in 2016, a 56.5 per cent increase and Gisborne nearly doubled from 42 units to 78 units an 85.7 per cent increase.

December highlights
Commercial registrations were down two units to 1044 last month, compared to December 2016’s 1046.

Toyota is again the market leader in the used commercial sector, with 400 units this December and a market share of 38.3 per cent. Nissan and Fiat followed behind, with 204 units and 94 units, respectively.

Out of the main centres, Wellington was the standout, with an increase from 50 units in December 2016 to 67 last month, a rise of 34 per cent. Dunedin jumped 25.7 per cent from 35 to 44 units, and Christchurch gained 10.7 per cent with 124 units last month compared to 112 December 2016.


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Turners pre-tax profits up 21%

Turners is benefiting from growing retail sales, an increasing loan book and a scaled up insurance business.

Turners Automotive Group Limited has reported a 44 per cent increase in revenue and a 21 per cent increase in pre-tax profit growth for the six months as it benefits from growing retail sales, an increasing loan book and a scaled up insurance business.

Revenue was $163.8m for the six months ended 30 September 2017, while Net Profit Before Tax increased to $14.2m. Net Profit After Tax was $10.0m, up 18 per cent on the previous half year.

Shareholder equity increased to $200.8m as at 30 September 2017, boosted by the $25m capital placement completed in September 2017.

Turners CEO, Todd Hunter, commented: “Turners has reported another positive half year of growth and, while some softening in the used vehicle market was seen during the election period, overall market trends are positive and growth prospects remain strong. We are continuing to benefit from our vertically integrated business model. Finance receivables are growing strongly, as are insurance premiums, both on the back of increasing used vehicle sales. 

Following the acquisition of Buy Right Cars and the Autosure insurance business, Turners have delivered improvements in revenue and have positioned themselves in a good place for growth.  

“We are continuing to innovate with the development and launch of new products and services designed to deliver a superior customer experience. While the market is incredibly fragmented and competition is active, we believe we have unique attributes and competitive advantages which position us well for continuing growth into the future.

“An uplift is expected in the second half in line with annual trends and due to the positive impact of the growing finance book and as scale benefits are realised.” 

The company has stipulated that it is on track to deliver a Net Profit Before Tax of between $29 million and $31 million for the full year to 31 March 2018. This would represent an 18% to 26% increase on FY17, or 10% to 14% excluding acquisitions.

In terms of their trading performance, Automotive Retail was up 32 per cent to $113.5m and operating profit was up 27 per cent to $8.8m with a full half contribution from Buy Right Cars.

Turners’ focus on retail customers continues, and sales to end users were 72 per cent of all car purchases in the first half. These sales deliver higher margins and provide more opportunities to sell finance and insurance products.

The usual seasonal dip in trading margins has been longer and stronger this year, due to the increased supply of new and used import vehicles and increasing competition. 

Investment is continuing in purpose built sites in targeted locations for the Auto Retail Division. Two new Trucks & Machinery sites in Wiri and Palmerston North are now operational, and an additional site is being developed in Hamilton.

A new Turners Cars site is being developed in Porirua and a new site has just been acquired in Whangarei. A new Buy Right cars site is also under development in Penrose, adjacent to the main site in Auckland.

Turners Automotive Group Limited is an integrated financial services group, primarily operating in the automotive sector

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Confidence returns to used car market

Confidence has returned to the used car market after September’s pre-election slow down.

There were 14,118 registrations of used imported passenger vehicles in October – up 11.1 per cent compared to the same month last year and an increase of 473 sales on September’s total of 13,645.

During the past 12 months, sales of used cars have totaled 162,571 – up 9.9 per cent on the previous 12 months.

Toyota continues to top the sales’ table with 3,509 sales for the month – up 5.6 per cent from the same time last year. Nissan was the second marque with 2,762 registrations – up 17.3 per cent on October 2016, and Mazda rounded out the top three on 2,296 units – up 18.2 per cent.

Year to date, Toyota has sold 34,290 units for a market share of 25.1 per cent, Nissan on 25,387 and 18.6 per cent and Mazda with 20,903 units and 15.3 per cent of market share.

The battle for top model continues to be close with the Mazda Axela, Nissan Tiida and Suzuki Swift making up the top three respectively. There were 657 Axela sold – 21.7 per cent on the same month last year, 613 Tiida – a fall of 9.5 per cent, and 579 Swift – up 21.6 per cent on October 2016.

The three cars hold 4.5 per cent, 4.3 per cent and 4.2 per cent of the year-to-date market share.

When looking at the individual regions, sales for October increased almost throughout New Zealand.

Registrations of used cars increased by a massive 91.1 per cent in Gisborne, with 86 units compared to 45 during October last year. Rotorua dealerships also had a great month with sales up 53.4 per cent on 204 registrations compared to 133 and Wanganui was close behind up 49.4 per cent on 115 units for October.

Invercargill was the top sales region in the South Island with sales up 34 per cent on 205 units compared to 153 in October 2016.

Auckland sales were up a modest 4.5 per cent with 6,618 sales in October compared to 6,335 in the same month last year.

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Annual inflation up to 1.9%

The consumers price index (CPI) had an annual increase of 1.9 per cent, and rose 0.5 per cent from the June 2017 quarter, Stats NZ said today.

This comes after 0.0 per cent quarterly, and 1.7 per cent annual, inflation last quarter. Collectively, housing-related costs had the largest upward contribution in the September 2017 quarter, slightly offset by falls in transport prices.

However, prices for second-hand motor cars fell 0.9 per cent this quarter but increased 1.8 per cent in the year. Petrol prices fell 1.7 per cent in the September 2017 quarter and increased 4.5 per cent in the year. Vehicle relicensing fees fell 8.0 per cent this quarter and 8.0 per cent in the year.

“In the latest quarter petrol prices fell three cents, to an average of $1.83 a litre, despite rising through August and September,” prices senior manager Jason Attewell says. “Average petrol prices in the CPI differ from what you see at the petrol station, because they take into account supermarket and loyalty card discounts.”

Housing was behind the increase in inflation. Rents rose 0.6 per cent in the September 2017 quarter and 2.2 per cent in the year. Construction of new dwellings (excluding land) rose 1.1 per cent this quarter and 5.4 per cent in the year to September. Local authority rates rose 3.5 per cent this quarter and 3.7 per cent in the year. While dwelling insurance rose 6.1 per cent this quarter and 12 per cent in the year.

Regionally, rents in Canterbury had a 1.9 per cent decrease in the latest year; this is the fifth consecutive annual decrease in rents for the region. The annual increase of 2.6 per cent in construction of new dwellings (excluding land) is the lowest annual increase since September 2010, before the Canterbury earthquakes.

Auckland had the lowest annual increases in rent and construction costs since March 2015. In Wellington, construction costs rose 1.4 per cent the September 2017 quarter (3.2 per cent annually), and rents rose 1.0 per cent (3.7 per cent annual). This was the largest annual increase in Wellington rents since December 2008.
“Rents and construction costs in Wellington are rising faster than for the rest of the country,” Attewell says. “Annual rents rose by more in Wellington than Auckland, while Christchurch rents fell.”

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Aussie car sales hit fourth record month in a row

The Toyota Hilux was Australia’s top-selling vehicle

Vehicle sales in Australia hit a record month in July, the fourth in a row, according to industry body VFACTS.

A total of 92,754 new vehicles were sold in Australia last month, an increase of 1.6 per cent compared to July 2016.

Year-to-date sales hit 692,306 cars, a 0.4 per cent increase.

“This July figure demonstrates the industry’s ability to deliver products which are not only good value but cater specifically for the changing needs of Australian customers,” said the chief executive of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), Tony Weber.

While the passenger vehicle market was down 5.9 per cent last month when compared to July 2016, other market segments saw large gains. The SUV market was up 9.4 per cent year-on-year, with small and medium SUVs up 15.3 per cent and 18.6 per cent respectively, and heavy commercials increased 14.5 per cent.

“The steady rise in small and medium SUV sales are indicative of our market’s changing dynamic and manufacturers are moving quickly to meet those new needs and expectations,” Weber said.

The top-selling car make was Toyota, who sold 17,931 vehicles for a 19.3 per cent market share, followed by Mazda, with 9,528 sales, a 10.3 per cent market share, and Hyundai, with an 8.1 per cent share of the market.

Five of the 10 highest-selling vehicle models were also Toyota, with the Hilux standing at the top of the table, with 3,742 sales, a 19.3 per cent increase. This was followed by the Toyota Corolla, with 3,208 sales, down 6.4 per cent, the Ford Ranger, with 3,076 sales, up seven per cent, and the Mazda3, with 2,466 sales, a massive 64.3 per cent increase.

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Ranger sets half-year record in Asia-Pacific

Sales of the Ford Ranger have increased a massive 21 per cent in Asia Pacific thanks to half-year sales records in Australia and New Zealand.

Year-on-year, retail sales of the Ranger in the first six months increased to a record 63,525 units – up 21 per cent compared to the first six months of 2016.

Ford said the record was driven by high Australian sales, which rose 19 per cent to 21,638 vehicles. Sales also increased in other markets across Asia-Pacific – New Zealand sales in the first half of the year rose 24 per cent to a record volume of 4,980 vehicles, and the Ranger remains the highest-selling new vehicle overall in the country.

The fastest-growing market was in Thailand, where sales jumped 51 per cent to 20,230 vehicles and a market share of 11.7 per cent. In the Philippines, year-on-year sales rose 16 per cent to 4,596 vehicles, another record, where it held 25 per cent of the market segment.

Sales held steady in Vietnam, up two per cent to 6,985. This growth may lag behind other Asia-Pacific nations, but with a 57 per cent segment share, it’s difficult to see how much further the Ranger could expand into the Vietnamese vehicle market.

In other markets, including Taiwan, Cambodia and New Caledonia, the Ranger was also the top-selling ute for the first half of the year.

“Demand for Ford Ranger continues to rise as consumer needs evolve towards a versatile vehicle that can be used for both work and play,” said Graeme Whickman, President and CEO of Ford Australia, adding that “we expect demand will continue to rise.”

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Car imports top $500m in June

The value of car imports edged past $500 million for the first time in June 2017, Stats NZ said today. Total monthly imports were up 7.7 per cent, or $319 million, to $4.5 billion compared to June 2016.

Imports of cars were up $118 million, or 31 per cent, to $505 million. This boom in import value was driven by an increase in new vehicles, which grew $86 million in value year-on-year.

June was the eleventh consecutive month of year-on-year growth in value for vehicle imports, with 2,566 more cars imported compared to June 2016.

Imports of the vehicles, parts and accessories industry sector rose 36.4 per cent year-on-year to $821 million. For the 12 months ending June, vehicle imports rose 18.3 per cent to $8.5 billion.

Petrol imports were somewhat sluggish, up just two per cent to $388 million in June when compared to the same month of the previous year. For the 12 months ending June 2017, imports rose 10.3 per cent to $4.99 billion.

Dairy sales led June’s growth in export values. Year-on-year, exports grew 11 per cent, or $454 million, to $4.7 billion.

“The milk powder, butter, and cheese group continues to be a key export commodity, and accounts for over a quarter of our total exports,” international statistics senior manager Daria Kwon said.

When seasonally-adjusted, imports in the June 2017 quarter rose 2.9 per cent, or $396 million, to $14 billion. Exports rose 9.9 per cent, or $1.2 billion, to $13.5 billion.

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Card spending remains flat in June

Spending using retail cards remained static in June at $6.8 billion when seasonally adjusted, Stats NZ reports, with the British and Irish Lions Rugby tour potentially offsetting a fall in petrol spending.

The total value of electronic card spending rose 0.1 per cent in June, following a 0.1 per cent decline in May.

“Retail spending in the June month was flat because the high hospitality spending was offset by the low fuel prices,” business indicators manager Sue Chapman said. “The increased spending on hospitality could be largely a result of the influx of British and Irish Lions fans.” 

Hospitality spending rose $23 million, or 2.4 per cent, while petrol spending was down $19 million, or 3.2 per cent. The other four industries remained virtually unchanged, including vehicles, up $1 million, or 0.3 per cent, to $167 million.

Spending on vehicles has remained flat since March, when it was valued at $166 million. Year-on-year, seasonally-adjusted spending on vehicles using electronic cards has risen five per cent.

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Used imports unstoppable

The Nissan Tiida was June’s best-selling used import.

Used passenger vehicle sales rose 11.2 per cent in June to 13,339 units when compared to June 2016. Month-on-month sales appear to be easing, however, down 7.6 per cent when compared with May.

Year to date, used imported passenger vehicle registrations are 10.6 per cent ahead of the first six months of 2016, up 7,690 units, an extra 1,281 extra sales each month for 2017.

Toyota continues to reign at the top of the used car table with 24.8 per cent market share for the month with sales of 3,004 units, year to date they command a 25.4 per cent share.

The top-selling used passenger vehicle was once again the Nissan Tiida, with sales up 6.4 per cent to 602 units, followed by the Mazda Axela, up 5.7 per cent to 558 units, and the Suzuki Swift, up 6.3 per cent to 554 units.

Used car sales jumped in the South Island, with annual growth found in Dunedin, up 20 per cent to 438 sales, Timaru, up 56.4 per cent year-on-year to 147 sales, and Oamaru, up 45 per cent to 29 sales. Monthly vehicle sales were also strong in Gisborne, up 34.6 per cent to 70 sales in June, and Whanganui, up 26 per cent to 97 sales.

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