NEW ZEALAND: Ford reclaims lead in car sales race

By just-auto.com editorial team | 13 August 2001

Ford has reclaimed the lead in New Zealand's new motor vehicle sales in what has become the tightest three-way race for market leadership in the history of the Kiwi motor trade, writes Donn Anderson.

General Motors Holden led first half year sales but, after confirmation of July registrations, slipped to third behind Ford and Toyota even though there a mere 147 units separate the top three.

July sales reached 6,424, of which 4,958 were new passenger cars. The result was 8.5% lower than the previous month but a 15.3% improvement on July last year. Total new motor vehicle sales after seven months were 40,785, a reduction of 2.6% below the same period in 2000.

With sales of 1,193, Ford snatched 18.6% of the July new car and commercial vehicle market, an improvement on the multinational's 16% penetration for the first six months. The result was enough to give Ford a lead of 90 units over runner-up Toyota (17.3%, 1,110), with Holden only 57 units behind its Japanese rival after posting 15.5% share (993) and Mitsubishi returning 9% (575).

"We have enjoyed sustained growth over the past few months which has seen our market share steadily improve," said Ford New Zealand marketing manager, Steve Pleciak.

Several models have pushed Ford ahead, and while the marque's big Australian Falcon/Fairmont range cannot match the sales pace of arch-rival top model Holden Commodore (3,408), it is firmly in second position in model sales (2,310), followed by the Toyota Camry (1,292), Toyota Corolla (1,267), Nissan Maxima (1,205), Honda Civic (1,029), the new Ford Mondeo (969) and Nissan Primera (869). Ford claims it would have sold more Mondeos if more stock was available.

The Ford Ka scored its best sales in more than a year while the Mazda-based Ford Escape is in a commanding sales position in the four-wheel-drive segment. Ford also had its Japanese-sourced Courier in the top utility (pick-up) position.

Top new car seller for July was Ford with 17.2% penetration (853 units) but, for the first seven months of the year, Holden is still a clear leader with 16.6% or 5,269 sales.

Holden's July sales were up 58% on the same month last year, and for the seven month period it is showing a 23% improvement - the largest increase of the five major brands. Ford is next best with a 2% improvement, while Toyota, Nissan and Mitsubishi are all down.

The Commodore's year-to-date sales are more than the total passenger sales for fourth ranking Nissan, while the new Holden Barina (Opel/Vauxhall Corsa) has displaced the Toyota Echo (Yaris/Vitz) for the third month in a row as the best selling small car in New Zealand.

Well behind the top three in July industry sales was Mitsubishi (9.0%), which enjoyed strong commercial vehicle sales that pushed it ahead of Nissan (8.4%) for the month. In sixth position was Honda (5.4%), followed by Mazda (4.4%), Hyundai (3.2%) and Suzuki (2.2%).

In 11th position, and the best of the European marques, was Volkswagen with 1.9% and a comfortable margin over Subaru and BMW.

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