Ford and General Motors’ Holden continue to make gains over former long-time
market leader Toyota in the battle to attract new vehicle buyers in New Zealand,
writes Donn Anderson.

While total industry volume is relatively static, Ford is making strong advances
and secured 19.9 percent of the August market, compared with 13.5 percent for
the same month last year.

Combined new car and commercial vehicle sales gave Ford a total of 7,945 units
(16.8 percent market share) for the January to August period, compared with
Holden’s 7,711 (16.3 percent) and Toyota’s 7,614 (16.1 percent), with
fourth ranked Nissan well back at 4,506 (9.5 percent).

Mitsubishi was in fifth position (7.7 percent), followed by Honda (5.5 percent),
Mazda (4.8 percent), Hyundai (3.5 percent) and Suzuki (2.3 percent).

Tenth placed Volkswagen achieved 2.2 percent market share for the first eight
months of this year, but hit a record 3.9 percent of the new car market in August
with sales of 191, beating Mazda’s 152 units (3.1 percent).

More than half the VWs sold were Golfs while New Beetles accounted for 17 percent
of the marque’s volume.

Volkswagen is now closely behind Suzuki and ahead of Subaru, BMW, Peugeot and
Mercedes-Benz year to date, while Audi is also posting record New Zealand sales
following the arrival of the new A4.

Total new car sales for August at 4,957 were down slightly on August 2000 (4,984),
while new truck, van and commercial vehicle sales improved marginally.

In the first eight months of this year, new vehicle sales were down by two
percent compared to the same period in 2000, while sales of used imported vehicles
increased by 3.7 percent.

For the first eight months of 2001, Holden led new car sales with 6,143 units
(16.8 percent), with Ford not far behind on 5,707 (15.65), and Toyota third
after posting 5,067 sales (13.8 percent).

The top-selling Australian-built Holden Commodore continues to sell strongly,
taking 45 percent of the large car segment for the month as stocks of the current
model were run out prior to the launch of a new Series II version. Holden is
also doing well with the Spanish-built new generation Barina (sold as the Opel
Corsa in most other markets).

Ford’s new Belgian built Mondeo now leads the New Zealand two-litre medium
car class, just three months after its launch, while the Ford Laser car and
Escape four-wheel-drive SUVs (sourced from Mazda in Japan) are selling ahead
of expectations.

Meanwhile, Toyota’s new model Corolla is still several months away from
introduction and the larger Australian-made Camry and Avalon are struggling
against their Ford and Holden rivals.

However, Toyota still leads the commercial vehicle market with 24 percent market
share this year, compared with 21.1 percent for Ford.

Although Ford has now opened up a 234 unit lead over Holden, a close run for
market leadership is expected until the end of the year.

And, despite intense competition, total industry sales are still mediocre,
with the 12,708 newly registered used imported vehicles in August being almost
double the new vehicle volume of 6,475.