It’s
a big car, but the Australian-built Holden Commodore is outselling many a smaller
model on New Zealand’s car market, writes Dave Moore

Holden has carried its sales surge into this year after enjoying its best market
performance since 1987 during 2000. It has posted a total volume improvement
(compared to 1999) of 28.3 per cent versus the industry’s increase of 2.3
per cent.

According to Land Transport Safety Authority figures released for February
2001, Holden has retained the passenger car and overall market leadership positions
it established in January led by the Commodore, a perennial New Zealand favourite.

Compared to February 2000, the industry’s passenger car volume was down
from 4,108 to 3,575 units – a 12.9 per cent decline. Even though Holden’s
volume was also down – by 20 units or 3.5 per cent, the brand’s market
share was up 1.6 percent to 15.7 per cent.

For the year to the end of February 2001 and compared to the same period last
year, Holden’s car volume is up 151 units or 13.4 per cent, bucking the
industry’s decline of 746 units (7,299 versus 8,045 YTD February 2000)
or 9.3 per cent. With 1,272 units sold – 290 ahead of its nearest competitor,
Holden remains the country’s most popular new passenger car brand.

The Commodore has now led the market since last August and so far this year
commands 38.3 per cent of its market segment compared to 36.6 per cent for calendar
year 2000. Of the range’s total sales in the first two months of this year,
around one in four had the U.S.-made 225 kW GEN III V8 engine, whereas last
year, the ratio was one in five.

Holden’s medium size market entry, the European-built Vectra, holds second
place in its market segment and is the country’s fifth most popular model
– up from 15th this time last year. The Astra, also imported from GM Europe,
has moved from 20th position last year to 18th in 2001, and the Spanish-built
Barina (Opel Corsa) is third in its market segment and 24th overall, up from
29th last year. Nowadays, these four-cylinder models account for one in three
Holden passenger car sales.

Holden
Special Vehicles (HSV), started the year with a dash

Holden Special Vehicles (HSV), arguably New Zealand’s best known and most popular
performance car brand for over a decade, started the year with a dash recording
a total of 65 sales for the two-month period versus 45 last year.

Cumulatively, some 2,030 units have now been sold in this country since HSV
arrived late in 1989.

Holden’s commercial vehicle brand Isuzu, New Zealand’s best selling truck marque
in 2000, has continued last year’s winning ways and again leads the New Zealand
heavy commercial vehicle market.

Holden’s year to date volume stands at 1532 units for a market share of 14.6
per cent – up 80 units or 5.5 percent on the same two months last year. For
comparison, the company’s overall market share at that time stood at 12.5 per
cent, while its market position was third.