High fleet and rental car demand going into the southern hemisphere summer pushed October new vehicle sales ahead in New Zealand, writes Donn Anderson. New car demand compared to September was up a solid 18.6 percent to 5,780 units, although sales were down 1.5 percent on the same month last year.

Year to date new car sales at 47,312 were down 3.4 percent on the first 10 months of 2000, but the market is showing clear signs of recovery. Total industry sales, including commercial vehicles, reached 7,134 for October, a 14.4 percent improvement on the previous month. Year-on-year total industry sales were down 2.4 percent.

October was the second best month this year for new car sales which were only a few units down on June. And for total vehicle volume, October was the top month so far in 2001 and only slightly down on October 2000.

A three-way battle for market leadership between Ford, Toyota and Holden has taken a new twist as Toyota fights to preserve its 13-year reign as number one. The impetus of new models and heavy discounting boosted Toyota's total sales by 40 percent over the September result and 52 percent over October last year.

Toyota took 23.1 percent of the new car market, compared with 18 percent the previous month, and 17.2 percent of total sales.

Ford had 15.7 percent of new car sales and 17.1 percent of the total market, while General Motors Holden captured 18.2 percent of the car market and 16.8 percent of total vehicle volume.

In year to date new car sales, however, Holden was still the clear leader with 8,123 units (17.2 percent), followed by Ford with 7,479 (15.8 percent) and Toyota, 7,409 (15.7 percent). For the 10-month period, Toyota's new car sales were down slightly at 7,495 but Ford was up 5.5 percent and Holden boasted an impressive 20.9 percent improvement.

Other makes were again well behind the top three. Nissan increased sales 8.9 percent (434 units, 7.5 percent share), Honda was up 14.7 percent (396, 6.8 percent), Mitsubishi, about 21 percent down for the year to date, managed 373 for a 6.5 percent share, Mazda was up a minimal 1.6 percent (216, 3.7 percent), Suzuki was down by 9.6 percent (132, 2.3 percent), Subaru was down 13.4 percent (116, 2.0 percent) and BMW sales rose (77, 1.3 percent).

In fact, BMW sales in New Zealand's tiny new car market were up by 38 percent on the same period last year, largely as a result of the X5 SUV and new 3-series Compact.

While New Beetle sales have slowed, the Golf is doing well and has helped push Volkswagen ahead by 11 percent. Peugeot is up by 16.7 percent, with a boost from the newly-launched 307 yet to come, and Audi has recorded a 17.3 percent lift in volume.

Toyota made real gains with pre-launch sales of the new generation Corolla and run-out sales of the old model. Corolla sales in October were the best for the year and second only in volume to the Holden Commodore.

In year to dates sales, however, the Commodore is still well out in front as New Zealand's top-selling new car, and October was its best month for the year. Toyota also pushed the Echo (badged Yaris in Europe; Vitz in Japan), and the Australian-built Camry and Avalon models to their best performances for the year.

Other models, which enjoyed their best sales month of the year in October, were the Ford Falcon, Ford Ka, Mitsubishi Diamante and Mitsubishi Lancer.

To view related research reports, please follow the links below:-

Light vehicle niche markets 2000

The world's car manufacturers: A financial and operating review (download)