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New vehicle sales suffer first annual fall in decade

The MIA reveals that Toyota led the way in new registrations for the final month of 2019 and for the year overall.
Posted on 07 January, 2020
New vehicle sales suffer first annual fall in decade

Annual new vehicle sales figures have dropped for the first time in a decade, according to Motor Industry Association (MIA) statistics.

The 154,763 sales in 2019 was 4.3 per cent – or 7,007 units – lower than the number of units sold in 2018. The total for the past 12 months was also 3.35 per cent below the number of vehicles registered in 2017.

In December, registrations were 0.1 per cent – or 10 units – higher than for the same month in 2018 with 11,160 vehicles registered. 

“As expected, for 2019 the market was down 4.3 per cent on 2018,” says David Crawford, MIA chief executive. “It is the first time since 2009, the height of the global financial crisis, that we have seen a year-on-year drop in new vehicle registrations and comes after five consecutive record years, from 2014 to 2018.” 

Crawford adds that pure electric vehicles continued their modest rate of monthly registrations at 175 units for December, with 35 plug-in hybrids and 692 hybrid vehicles sold during the month. 

In December, Toyota was the overall market leader with a 31 per cent market share, equivalent to 3,407 units, followed by Mitsubishi with nine per cent and 1,014 vehicles, while Holden took third spot with a seven per cent market share and 799 units. 

Toyota was also the leader for 2019 overall, accounting for 20 per cent of new vehicle sales. Next on the list was Ford on 10 per cent, followed by Mitsubishi and Holden with eight per cent each. 

Passenger cars and SUV sales

For the month of December, Toyota was the market leader for passenger and SUV registrations with a 33 per cent market share, or 2,730 units, followed by Mitsubishi with eight per cent and 676 vehicles, and Holden with six per cent and 526 units.

The top-selling models during the month were the Toyota Corolla, pictured, on 907 units, the Toyota RAV4 with 747 units, and the Toyota Camry on 327 units.

Toyota also took out the two top spots for the year, with the Corolla on 6,804 units and the RAV4 on 5,611 units. In third spot for 2019 was the Mazda CX-5, which sold 3,312 units. 

Commercial vehicle sales

After a year that saw the frontrunning brand regularly change, Toyota finished on top of the commercial vehicle charts in December after selling 677 units to claim a 23 per cent market share. Ford was next with 18 per cent and 549 units, while Mitsubishi came third with 11 per cent and 338 units.

The Ford Ranger retained the top spot in December as the bestselling commercial model with a 16 per cent share and 473 units, followed by the Toyota Hilux with a 15 per cent share and 461 units, with Mitsubishi Triton claiming 11 per cent of the market with 338 sales. 

For the year, the Ranger seized 19 per cent of the market after shifting 9,485 units. It was followed by the Hilux’s 14 per cent share and 7,126 units, and the Triton’s 11 per cent share and 5,319 units. 

Smaller vehicles dominate December

The top three segments for the month of December were SUV medium vehicles with a 19 per cent share followed by SUV compacts with 18 per cent and the pick-up/chassis four-by-four category with 12 per cent.  

For the whole of 2019, the SUV mediums held onto top spot with a 19 per cent share of the market, while the pick-up/chassis four-by-four category and the SUV compact segment both scored a 15 per cent share. 

Changing sales patterns

Like 2018, the early part of 2019 was dominated by sales of utes but the last quarter saw figures for those vehicles cool.

In other developments, pure electric vehicles rose to the top three in sales with the entry of the Tesla Model 3, while the Toyota RAV4 hybrid, which was introduced into the market in March, became New Zealand’s most popular hybrid vehicle.