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Used imports bounce back

Annual figures show surge in activity for used cars but new vehicles suffer year-on-year decline.
Posted on 11 January, 2024
Used imports bounce back

There were 115,753 used cars imported into New Zealand during 2023, an increase of 26.1 per cent when compared with 91,783 in 2022. 

The total included 113,462 from Japan – up 29.3 per cent from 87,740, according to figures from New Zealand Customs. Meanwhile, Australia was the source for 1,263 units, falling 46.4 per cent from the previous year’s total, and 272 came from the UK, a drop of 47.1 per cent.

However, last year’s overall tally was still 11.1 per cent lower than the 130,196 used cars imported during 2021.

During December, 7,772 units crossed our wharves. This was a decrease of 20.5 per cent from 9,781 in the same month of 2021.

Monthly arrivals from Japan came in at 7,567. This was down from 9,513 in the same month of the previous year for a fall of 20.5 per cent.

In addition, 103 used cars were imported from Australia during December and 37 arrived from Singapore. The totals for the UK and US were 19 and 14 respectively.

As for used light commercials, annual imports increased by 10.5 per cent to 3,985 in 2022. This compared to 4,403 such units during the previous year.

On a monthly basis, the number of units entering the country fell 35.2 per cent from 469 a year earlier to 304 in December 2022. 

Drop for new vehicles

There were 98,313 new passenger vehicles imported in 2023, a decrease of 15 per cent from the previous year’s tally of 115,643.

Of these, 49,191 came from Japan and 9,991 from South Korea. Other key markets for sourcing cars were Thailand with 9,060, China on 7,051 units, Belgium with 5,472 and Germany on 4,641.

The total for December was 7,454, which was 25 per cent lower than the 9,936 units in the same month a year earlier.

Japan supplied 2,731 new cars in December, with a further 1,131 shipped from China, 747 from South Korea and 651 from Thailand.

New light commercials tallied 25,031 last year, which was down 26 per cent from 33,804 in 2022. 

In December, 2,201 such units crossed our wharves – a marked increase from just 318 in November.

However, the latest monthly tally represented a 32.7 per cent decrease from December 2022 when 3,272 new light commercials were imported.

Overall, 250,690 vehicles, including trucks and buses, crossed our border last year, a decrease of 1.5 per cent from 254,593 in 2022. The latest total included 18,413 units in December.