Vehicle sales stall on weak dairy prices
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New Zealand sales of new vehicles declined in May, ending 41 months of increases, as demand for commercial vehicles fell.
Last month 10,034 new vehicles were registered, down from 10,064 in the same month a year earlier, and marking the first annual monthly decline since November 2011, according to the Motor Industry Association.
Commercial vehicle registrations slipped 2.2 per cent to 3191 compared with May last year, a record for the month, while passenger vehicles edged up 0.6 per cent to 6843.
Sales of new commercial vehicles have been rising to records as buoyant economic conditions stoked demand from tradespeople and farmers. However, as economic growth slows, weak dairy prices crimp farm income and the New Zealand dollar declines, sales growth appears to be stalling.
"While the market is still strong, it may be flattening out," said association chief executive David Crawford.
Some people might be holding off buying new vehicles in anticipation of discounted prices during the annual agricultural Fieldays this month, he said.
In the first five months of this year, new passenger and commercial vehicle sales were up 6 per cent on last year. New vehicle sales hit a record 127,179 last year, beating the previous record of 123,247 from 1984, and ahead of the 113,294 in 2013. Toyota was the top-selling brand in May, with a 16 per cent market share, followed by Holden with 11 per cent and Ford with 10.