Commercial car sales down for fifth month in a row

Sales of commercial vehicles stalled last month - dropping 14.4% year-on-year to 3527 sales - according to latest figures from the motor industry association.

With almost 600 fewer units driving off the lot over the 29 days of February, Motor Industry Association chief executive David Crawford said it was the fifth month in a row that commercial sales were down.

That pulled overall new car registrations down by 261 units to 11,438 sales in spite of steady passenger and SUV sales which were up by 331 to 7911 vehicles for the month.

Toyota retained its top position as New Zealand's favourite car brand at 17% of overall sales of 11,438 vehicles, with both its Hilux (580 units) and Toyota Rav4 (419 units) featuring in the top three.

However it was the Ford Ranger that retained pole position, with a 21% market share in the commercial sector and 728 more of them on the road last month.

It was also a tough start to the year for perennial overachiever, the Toyota Corolla, which fell to ninth place.

Dunedin City Motors chief executive Robert Bain said while national numbers were down, the year had started on a more positive note for the local Otago and Southland group than it had ended in 2019.

"Demand from the local building trade remains very positive, particularly for both the Ranger and Transit, and our new car team have had a very busy start to the year through Dunedin, Alexandra and Gore."

Mr Bain said the commercial declines may have come outside of the "big four" car brands.

"Overall, all that matters really is that buyers buy local, support local during the hospital rebuild and other large projects."

Mr Crawford said that sales of pure electric vehicles and hybrid vehicles had also remained steady over the month with sales at 124 and 664 respectively.

Of a total of 154479 new car registrations last year, medium size SUVs remained as the biggest seller, at 29193 units or just under one fifth of the market. Utes held 15% of the market on the strength of Ranger, Hilux and Mitsubishi Triton sales, at 23238 units, just ahead of compact SUVs.

Last year there were 4.3 million vehicles registered, around one car for every New Zealand.  Of those, 2.87 million were cars and SUVs, while 648,279 were listed as trucks. Rental cars accounted for 52,093 vehicles.


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