NZ new-car sales up a whopping 62% in 2021 so far

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Words: Matthew Hansen
4 May 2021

With the overnight unveiling of New Zealand’s April new-car registration figures, we have a complete picture of the country’s first-quarter performance. And, by and large, the story is good.

Following a sequence of record months for registrations, April has been confirmed as yet another successful month. In total, 13,133 new cars were registered for our roads. This naturally decimated the numbers from last April (1039 units), given that last April was a month of lockdown in New Zealand.

Once again, Motor Industry Association head David Crawford acknowledged that the country’s high sales figures were largely down to a sea of new vehicle supply, and orders from last year finally being fulfilled.

He adds that the more telling stat to consider is a comparison of the quarters. 2021’s opening quarter now goes down in history as the most successful in Kiwi motoring history. 2018 held the record in the past for the strongest opening quarter, and the first four months of 2021 were up on 2018’s by 8.3 per cent.

For April, the Ford Ranger got one back on the Toyota Hilux, with 1026 registrations to the latter’s 781. The new Kia Stonic appeared at the pointy end for the first time, as ‘best of the rest’ in third on 625 registrations.

The Mitsubishi Outlander, Toyota RAV4, Mitsubishi ASX, Mitsubishi Triton, Mazda CX-5, Toyota Corolla, and Suzuki Swift complete the top 10. Narrowly missing out on a top-10 berth were the Hyundai Kona (a new model having been launched in April), Nissan Navara (ditto), Nissan X-Trail, and the Mazda BT-50 and Isuzu D-Max twins.

Over the whole of Q1, the Hilux edges the Ranger, but it was a close-run thing. The former has recorded 3351 registrations all up, to the latter’s 3348. Mitsubishi’s strong performance for the year is acknowledged by the Triton and Outlander sitting third and fourth.

Similar percentage growth can be seen in the registration data of electrified vehicles. The 1035 BEVs, 450 PHEVs, and 3789 hybrids sold so far in 2021 completely eclipse the 422, 261, and 1740 respective registrations across the same period in 2020.

The Kona electric was April’s most popular EV, ahead of the MG ZS EV, Kia Niro EV, Hyundai Ioniq Electric, and Porsche Taycan. The Outlander PHEV was predictably the country’s most popular plug-in hybrid, finishing ahead of the Mini Countryman and Ioniq PHEV.

And in the traditional hybrid stakes, Toyotas locked out the entire top five; RAV4 leading Corolla, Yaris Cross, Yaris, and C-HR.


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