NZ car sales continue to soar following best March on record

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Words: Matthew Hansen
7 Apr 2021

For the third consecutive month, the local car industry has recorded incredible sales data; this time in setting a new record for new-vehicle registrations for the month of March. In total, 15,498 new vehicles were registered in March, representing a whopping 86.3 per cent increase over March 2020 (a month gutted by Covid-19).

The data, sourced from the Motor Industry Association, comes with the same caveat that New Zealand’s registration data from January and February had; with MIA CEO David Crawford noting that the high numbers are influenced by a heavy influx of supply. This has quenched a backlog of pre-orders dating back into 2020.

“As shipments arrive, vehicles are going straight through Customs, distributor pre-delivery inspections and entry compliance to the franchised dealer and onto the new owner, who invariably has been on a wait list,” says Crawford.

“Comparing March this year to March 2020 is a statistical challenge due to lost delivery time as we entered in full lockdown and current month arrivals are mainly fulfilling long wait lists.”

The Toyota Hilux edged the Ford Ranger to be the national number one seller for the month, on 1019 registrations to the Ranger’s 828. The Mitsubishi Triton and Outlander were next, with the Nissan Navara, Kia Sportage, Mazda CX-5, RAV4, Isuzu D-Max, and ASX rounding out the top 10.

Kia’s new compact crossover, the Stonic, narrowly missed out on the top 10. As did the country’s top selling electric car for the month; the Tesla Model 3. The MIA notes that 855 hybrids, 450 pure electric vehicles, and 150 plug-in hybrids were registered in March; continuing the country’s steady adoption of electrified vehicles.

In terms of brand percentages, Toyota continued its reign at the top as market leader (2352 units registered), ahead of Mitsubishi (1743) and Ford (1367). This despite Toyota’s ongoing battle with RAV4 supply, reflected in the model only being the country’s sixth best-selling vehicle of 2021 to date.

One of the other segments to pick-up during March were rental car registrations. As more Kiwis embark on local tourism, and as the country prepares to open a bubble with Australia, rental companies are renewing portions of their fleet.

The Sportage was the best-selling rental of the month, with 217 registrations. It was followed by the Outlander, Ranger, X-Trail, CX-5, Suzuki Swift, Sorento, and Carnival.


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