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March 6, 2003

NEW ZEALAND: February results further fuel recovery of new car sales

New Zealand’s Motor Industry Association says the short month of February is traditionally one of the smaller months for new car sales, but February 2003 proved that the recovery in the new vehicle market which started in late 2001 shows no sign of abating.

By bcusack

New Zealand’s Motor Industry Association says the short month of February is traditionally one of the smaller months for new car sales, but February 2003 proved that the recovery in the new vehicle market which started in late 2001 shows no sign of abating.

The February new car sales tally of 4,885 was 14.4% ahead of February 2002, and combined January and February sales for new cars were 14.1% up on the same period 12 months ago. It was the best start to the year for new car sales, and also for combined new car and commercial vehicle sales, since 1990, the MIA said.

“We are encouraged by the continuing strength of the new vehicle market,” said MIA CEO Perry Kerr. “It is no accident however, as buyers are increasingly aware of the advantages of new car ownership. No longer is depreciation the bogey that it used to be, because with the used importers focusing largely on older cars, later-model New Zealand new used cars are highly sought-after.”

The MIA sees the trend continuing. “Affordable, risk-free new car ownership is becoming firmly established, and we look forward to the market growing, over time, to the levels which would have been achieved without the industry upheavals of the nineties,” Kerr said, referring to the dismantling of import restrictions which allowed the development of a used-car importing industry whose volumes have at times doubled those of the new car trade.

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