While the domestic new-car world is dominated by utes and SUVs, things are a little different in the second-hand market.
For most of 2021 (and a handy chunk of 2020), the Toyota Aqua hybrid has been New Zealand’s most popular Japanese import. That continued in August, with 599 Aquas registered during a month hit by Covid-19 Level 4 lockdown.
The Aqua is the Japanese market version of the Prius C formerly offered locally, and recently phased out by Toyota New Zealand. Aquas have surged in popularity over the last two years, thanks in part to their incredible fuel economy, and more vanilla styling relative to their more off-the-wall-looking Prius cousins.
Not to say that the ordinary Prius isn’t a popular import, however. For the second month running it was the month’s third most popular import, split by the Mazda Axela (the Japanese-market Mazda3); 337 and 278 of each nameplate registered in August respectively.
The Nissan X-Trail and Mitsubishi Outlander were the only SUVs to crack the top five for August, with the latter ranking fifth equal with the Volkswagen Golf.
Comparing Aqua registrations to Ranger registrations is a mostly meaningless, but somewhat interesting exercise.
The Aqua enjoyed an 8.4 per cent overall market share in August in the import market segment, while the Ranger’s 671 registrations meant it had an approximate 9.9 per cent overall market share in the new-vehicle stakes.
While commercial vehicles dominate new-car sales, they represent a small fraction of the import market. Just 360 commercials were registered in August; the Toyota Hiace heading the Nissan NV350 and the Toyota Dyna.