Japanese Disasters, New Vehicle Sales Impacted : Motor Trade Association (MTA) said the new vehicle market for May showed the first effects of the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan, with several leading brands reporting sharply lower sales, despite the market remaining relatively solid.
Sales in May generally lift after April, which is usually one of the quietest months of the year, sales-wise. While that trend was repeated this year, the increase in sales was less than usual, due to the restricted supply which appeared to affect market leader Toyota and to a lesser extent Honda. Both companies suffered disruption to production facilities during March’s disasters, and the slowdown in sales had been anticipated by the industry.
Registration data just released by NZ Transport Agency shows the overall new vehicle market of 6,563 units was up 953 units (17 percent) compared to April 2011, and up 146 units (2 percent) compared to May 2010. For the year to date, overall sales are still ahead of 2010 by 2,912 units (9 percent).
New car sales of 4,535 units were up 277 units (7 percent) compared to April 2011, but down 81 units (2 percent) compared to May 2010. For the year to date, new car sales are still ahead of 2010 by 1,430 units (6 percent).
The new commercial vehicle market was strong during May. Sales of 2,028 units were up 676 units (50 percent) compared to April 2011, and 227 units (13 percent) compared to May 2010. For the year to date, new commercial sales are still well ahead of 2010 by 1,476 units (21 percent).
Commenting, MTA spokesperson Ian Stronach, Marketing and Communications General Manager said “The overall results in May are not surprising. Some Japanese brands are more reliant on their local production than others, and we are seeing the results of that in our market. The effects are likely to be felt for some time yet. Those brands with some or all of their production facilities outside of Japan are likely to benefit significantly.”
Holden led the new car market for the first time in many months with sales of 560 units – 12 percent share of the market. Hyundai continued to perform strongly with sales of 454 units – 10 percent share of the market. In third place was Suzuki with 433 units – 9.5 percent share, followed by Ford with sales of 422 units – 9 percent share, with Mazda rounding out the top five with sales of 420 units –also with a 9 percent share. Traditional market leader Toyota was back in sixth place with sales of 331 units – 7 percent share.
The race for individual passenger car leadership also had a somewhat unfamiliar look. Suzuki Swift took top spot with sales of 286 units ahead of Holden Commodore on 205 units, followed by Holden Captiva with 181 units, Hyundai i30 with 173 units and Ford Mondeo on 151 units. Long time leader, Toyota Corolla, was in ninth position with just 88 sales.
“Obviously, there will be quite a few brands vying to fill the gaps created by the supply constraints being felt by some Japanese based manufacturers. Add to this the strong stimulus in the form of the traditional ‘Fieldays Specials’ and the result is a market that’s as competitive as ever. Some leading models are available at heavily reduced prices, which will no doubt spur on buyer activity” said Stronach.
Toyota held strong in the light commercial segment however, with HiLux sales of 450 units making it New Zealand’s top selling model overall. Some way back in second spot was Nissan Navara with sales of 221 units and Ford Ranger in third with sales of 208 units.
The used import car market also showed buoyancy during May. Sales of 7,013 units were up 857 units (14 percent) compared to April 2011, but down 368 units (5 percent) compared to May 2010. For the year to date, used import car sales are still behind 2010 by 2,076 units (6 percent).
The motorcycle sector continued to cool along with temperatures, and at 528 units, was down 6 percent compared to April but encouragingly, was up 99 units or 23 percent compared to May 2010.