Toyota NZ down 31 per cent in 2020, but a running start on 2021 with 5700 orders in the bank
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We're yet to see official New Zealand new-vehicle sales figures for the whole of 2020 (expect them in the next week or so), but based on its own numbers market leader Toyota NZ (TNZ) has revealed that it was 31 per cent down on 2019.
That's a bigger hit than the expected industry average of 20-25 per cent, mostly due to TNZ's traditional reliance on tourism and the rental-car sector to drive volume. Covid-19 put a halt to both.
But the company still sees plenty of positives to take forward into 2021. There was a rise in sales towards the end of the year and if you take rentals out of the equation, TNZ's share of the private market increased by 2.4 per cent.
TNZ chief executive officer Neeraj Lala says the rise could be attributed to several factors, including the high private demand for newly introduced models across the brand's range.
“Toyota has made a real effort over the past few years to inject fun back into the range, which is resonating with our customers,” says Mr Lala. “We currently have over 5700 customer orders waiting to be filled as we move into 2021.”
Hybrids are powering much of TNZ's success. A petrol-electric powertrain is now available in the Yaris hatch and Cross, Corolla hatch and sedan, Camry, RAV4, C-HR and Prius. There is also the plug-in hybrid, the Prius Prime. In 2021, a hybrid Highlander will be offered in New Zealand for the first time.
Hybrids are now outselling petrol-only cars and SUVs right across the Toyota range. In the year to the end of December, hybrids accounted for 59 per cent of Toyota passenger cars sold. SUV hybrid sales were the same ratio, accounting for 59 per cent of Toyota SUV sales.
Even with the big-selling diesel Hilux in the mix, hybrids still make up 36 per cent of TNZ's volume.
“If there is a challenge with hybrid sales it is securing enough supply for New Zealand, as there is a global demand for hybrid cars and SUVs, despite the economic impact of COVID-19,” says Lala.
Hybrid SUVs are the big growth area. The new RAV4 continues to sell well, with 5346 (including 3830 hybrids) delivered during the year and 574 pre-sold units on their way from Japan.