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‘Weak demand’ for new cars

Light passenger vehicle segment records its worst February sales figures in more than a decade.
Posted on 05 March, 2024
‘Weak demand’ for new cars

The new passenger vehicle market suffered its worst February result in 11 years after there were just 5,951 registrations for the month, according to the Motor Industry Association (MIA).

The lowest February tally since 2013 was 308 units or 4.9 per cent down from the figures in the same month of 2023 and 1,694 vehicles or 22.2 per cent below February 2022’s total.

On a year-to-date basis, there were 1,462 or 9.4 per cent fewer registrations in the first two months of this year when compared with the same period of 2023.

Aimee Wiley, chief executive, explains registrations for the new-vehicle sector as a whole slumped last month to 9,663 units “on the back of weak demand for light passenger vehicles”.

“Conversely, heavy commercial registrations at 660 units are the best February result yet,” she adds.

Wiley, pictured, notes that the overall number of new vehicles that were registered last month was 122 units or 1.28 per cent more than in February 2023, when sales were impacted by Cyclone Gabrielle.

“Adjusting for this outlier, February 2024 is 22.7 per cent lower than February 2022, and the lowest February result since 2015, and 15.6 per cent lower than the average of the prior eight years February registrations,” she says.

Toyota’s RAV4 was the top-selling light passenger vehicle last month with 467 units, followed by the Suzuki Swift on 227 and Ford’s Everest with 220.

A breakdown of the sector by motive power shows there were 363 battery electric vehicles (BEVs) registered, along with 164 plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) and 1,838 hybirds.

Tesla’s Model Y was the leading BEV in February with 145 registrations and next was the BYD Atto 3 on 23 and the Ford Mustang Mach-E with 20.

In the PHEV sector, Mitsubishi’s Outlander came out on top with 42 units, followed by its Eclipse with 22 and the Mini Countryman on 16.

As for hybrids, there were 444 registrations of the RAV4 last month and Toyota’s Highlander and Corolla Cross scored 154 and 131 respectively.

The 3,052 light commercial vehicles registered in February was 369 units or 13.8 per cent higher than a year ago but 1,239 and 28.9 per cent down from the same period in 2022.

Ford’s Ranger led the way on 956 units. Toyota’s Hilux came second on 692 and Mitsubishi’s Triton was third with 437.

February’s top segment was medium SUVs on 23.3 per cent, followed by pick-up/chassis cab 4x4s on 19.9 per cent and  compact SUVs with 16.4 per cent.