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Imports stage late rally in 2020

Numbers edge up for all sectors but they fail to mask the sharp drop in supply over the course of the year.
Posted on 12 January, 2021
Imports stage late rally in 2020

There were 108,663 used cars imported into New Zealand during 2020, down by 23.1 per cent when compared to 141,218 in 2019. 

The total included 100,994 from Japan – down by 23.8 per cent. Meanwhile, Australia was the source for 4,185 units over the course of the year and 1,846 came from Singapore.

During December, 12,138 units crossed our wharves. This was an increase of 0.1 per cent from 12,121 in the same month of 2019.

Monthly arrivals from Japan came in at 11,224. This was down from 11,503 in the same month of last year, or by 2.4 per cent.

In addition, 522 used cars were imported from Australia during December and 207 arrived from Singapore. The totals for the UK and US were 104 and 37 respectively.

As for used light commercials, annual imports fell by 35 per cent to 4,696 in 2020. This compared to 7,223 such units during the previous year.

On a monthly basis, the number of units entering the country increased from 297 in November to 303 in December. However, last month’s figures were 54.8 per cent lower, or 368 units, down from December 2019.

Surge for new cars

There were 77,901 new passenger vehicles imported in 2020, a fall of 25.1 per cent from the previous year’s tally of 103,966.

Of these, 32,636 came from Japan and 11,381 from South Korea. Other key markets for sourcing cars were Thailand with 7,892 units, Germany with 4,456 and Belgium on 4,172.

The total for December was 9,542, which was 15.4 per cent higher than the same month a year earlier and the highest monthly figure in 2020.

Japan supplied 3,830 new cars in December, with a further 1,376 shipped from South Korea and 1,167 from Thailand.

New light commercials tallied 24,032 last year, a drop of 28.5 per cent from 2019. 

However, it also posted its highest figures of 2020 in December when 3,843 units crossed our wharves.

The monthly tally represented a 70.7 per cent increase from December 2019, when 2,251 new light commercials were imported.

Overall, 219,236 vehicles, including trucks and buses, crossed our border last year, with the 26,180 units in December the highest monthly total in 2020.