More manufacturers have started to showcase positive local sales results in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic’s Kiwi peak, with Subaru announcing in a statement that March 2021 was its strongest month of sales in history.
It’s been a busy year so far for Subaru, with newly updated Outbacks and XVs making their way into local showrooms, on top of the new X Sport Forester trim level. According to the brand’s local arm, it sold 461 vehicles in March — a 20 per cent rise over expected figures.
Prior to the arrival of Covid-19, the brand had enjoyed seven consecutive years of local growth. And it appeared that an eighth was on the way, given that it recorded record sales last January prior to the country’s various lockdown measures.
“There has been a lot of hype and excitement around its arrival, with many of our long-standing Subaru drivers ready to replace their previous generation Outback. But its sales reveal that it was not just hype and the ‘GOOAT’ campaign has simply magnified demand for Kiwi SUV buyers in Subaru Country,” says Subaru New Zealand managing director Wallis Dumper.
“They added up to the much-needed perfect storm. We have customers waiting as some of our Subaru dealers are out of stock and we already have factory back orders through to the third quarter.”
Dumper’s reference there is something that’s been seen across a range of different local distributors. A lack of local supply late in 2020 was quenched earlier this year with the arrival of delayed shipments, and now brands like Subaru are recording some of the best sales data they’ve ever seen.
This has also been reflected in outright registration data. The New Zealand Motor Industry Association recorded that January 2021 was the third best January in Kiwi history for sales, with the subsequent February being the best February in recorded history. March’s sales data is expected early next week.
Dumper says that Subaru’s recent successes are also down to having good support from the firm’s head office in Japan. He adds that the month could have gone even better, had it not been for a shortage of the recently updated XV.
“We have had phenomenal support from Subaru Corporation, in Japan, which is doing its best to help us realise the full potential of the new Outback. Being small but outperforming much bigger markets, like the United Kingdom, certainly helps,” Dumper adds.
“However, we have been in the unfortunate situation of not being able to supply some of our new 2021 models, including our popular, compact SUV, the Subaru XV, which would have also set a sales record if we had been able to secure allocation.
“Unprecedented demand beyond what we are able to supply is a good problem to have, but we like to think that our customers understand the situation and are willing to be patient, as we know it will be worth the wait.
“The reality is that we are probably missing sales and as a company, we are doing our best to mitigate this. Fortunately, we have a loyal base of Subaru purchasers who cherish the invisible advantages of Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive and we are seeing strong forward orders.”