Kiwi new-vehicle sales: RAV4 topples Ranger in ‘phenomenal July’ result
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The boss of New Zealand’s biggest car brand confesses he’s scratching his head over a “phenomenal July” sales result that was up 26 per cent on the same time last year.
Lala also thinks it’s unlikely that the new-vehicle market will drop below 100,000 for the year. While that’s dramatically down on previous years, it’s still in line with the pre-2017 market.
“There’s no question that an estimated reduction of 35 per cent sales in a single year hurts everybody,” says Lala.
“[But] exceeding 160,000 sales in a year (2017) was quite an anomaly. You can see that in the last three years the fortunes of that growth have taken a turn – nothing more unprecedented than what we’ve experienced in 2020.
“A 100,000 market is what we’re forecasting. Certainly, some of our competitors are forecasting a reduction more dramatic than that, but I personally can’t see that happening. The first 7-8 months of the year have been really strong. Even if the wheels really fall off in the fourth quarter – and I don’t think they will - I can’t see the market dropping below 95,000.”
TNZ delivered just over 2300 cars in July – its second-biggest month in retail ever. It delivered over 800 RAV4s, the majority with the hybrid powertrain (and another 700 orders in the bank). It was NZ’s best-selling single model for the month.
TNZ also sold 640 Hiluxes, its best result for 2020 so far.
Lala acknowledges that the “challenges are ahead” as the end of the year is traditionally a busy time for rental registrations, which won’t be returning in 2020. But TNZ’s share of the private buyer market is growing: up from 11.6 per cent last year to 13.5 and trending upwards.
July was a solid month for the industry overall. Registrations were up 3.1 per cent over the same month last year at 12,263.
While the market is still down 24.8 per cent in the wake of Covid-19 lockdown, Motor Industry Association chief executive David Crawford says July is “surprisingly strong… Sales of both passenger and commercial vehicles were up on the same month in 2019.”
Crawford suggests that “returning cashed-up Kiwis and alternative spending to international travel” are partly behind the July result.
The top three models for the month were the Toyota RAV4 (796), Ford Ranger (781) and Toyota Hilux (627).