Toyota sold more vehicles in New Zealand than any other franchise in 2000 and confirmed its market leadership for the 13th consecutive year, writes Dave Moore. Final year 2000 sales figures just released show 73,963 new vehicles were sold in New Zealand last year, a 2.4 percent rise on 1999. Japanese brand Toyota accounted for 17.6 percent of total sales, with 13,046 units sold, while Ford was second with 12,198 units for a 16.5 percent market share.

A strong performance in the second half of the year saw Australia's Holden take third place on 13.6 percent and 10,091 sales, while Nissan and Mitsubishi took fourth and fifth spots with 9.8 and 9.4 percent respectively from sales of 7,275 and 6,927 units, ahead of Honda's 3,417 sales (4.6 percent) and Mazda's 3,151 (4.3 percent).

When passenger cars were separated from commercial vehicles, Toyota also led the 2000-year figures in New Zealand, with 9,116 sold for 15.8 percent, again ahead of Ford, with 8,324 and 14.4 percent. Holden closed in on Ford in December to end 2000 with a total of 8,156 or 14.2 percent.

Nissan and Mitsubishi occupied fourth and fifth places for passenger car sales in 2000 with 5,903 and 4,804 units respectively, or 10.2 and 8.3 percent share. Honda's 3417 sales placed it in sixth spot, with 5.9 percent share.

Best December performers for combined passenger and commercial sales were Toyota, with 1,305 (22.8 percent), Ford with 1,076 (18.8 percent) and Holden with 1,063 (18.6 percent).

The December new car sales figures showed where Holden made its gains, taking second place from Ford for the month. Toyota sold 944 cars (23.3 percent), Holden 731 (18.0 percent) and Ford 574 (14.1 percent). Mitsubishi, Nissan and Honda followed with 361, 274 and 270 respectively, or 8.9, 6.7 and 6.7 percent market share.

Favourite model in the New Zealand passenger market for 2000 was Holden's Australian-built Commodore with 4,941 sales to the arch-rival Ford Falcon's 4,184. Toyota's Japanese-built Corolla sold 3,624 units and the Australian-made Camry 2,432. Nissan's Maxima (2069) and Primera (1603) managed fifth and sixth spots, while the Holden Vectra (1551) was seventh and the Mitsubishi Galant (1509) eighth.

Nissan's Pulsar took the ninth position with 1492 sales and Ford's Japanese-made, Mazda 323-derived Laser rounded-out the top-ten with 1375 sales. The Mazda 626 was next with 1341, while Toyota's Echo (Yaris in Europe) managed just 1330 sales.

In order, the remaining top-sellers in the relatively tiny Kiwi market included the Australian Mitsubishi Diamante, Ford's Mondeo, the Mitsubishi Lancer, Honda's Thai-built Accord and Japanese-made Civic, the Hyundai Lantra and Holden's Astra.

Commercial sales were led by Toyota's HiLux utility (pickup), with 2530 sales ahead of Ford's Thai-built Courier (2319). Third was Toyota's HiAce van with 1280 sales, the Isuzu-made Holden Rodeo pickup (1107) was fourth, and Nissan's Navara and Mazda's Thai-assembled Bounty utes were fifth and sixth with 1044 and 906 sales respectively.

Mitsubishi sold 795 Thai-built L200s for seventh spot, 707 sales took the Japanese-made L300 van to eighth, and Ford's UK-sourced Transit van and Australian-made Falcon ute took ninth and tenth slots with 640 and 423 sales respectively.

Sales of used imported vehicles, which have had a two-for-one relationship with new vehicles for the past 10 years in New Zealand, showed a sharp drop of 11.7 percent to 123,070 units sold in 2000.

Author: Dave Moore is motoring editor of the Press, a regional daily newspaper published in Christchurch, New Zealand.