Blog: Dave Leggett'We are social animals'

Dave Leggett | 25 April 2007

I have never been to New Zealand but it is a country I'd like to visit one day. It's one of those places that is relatively unspoilt simply because the pressure of population is so light (more sheep than people). And the Great Outdoors always looks attractive there (comedian Billy Connolly's televised tour, Lord of the Rings movies...). Deputy editor Mr Roberts sometimes waxes lyrical on the place of his birth (he's a British citizen now though, albeit one with a penchant for barbecueing whole sheep).

Is it like England in the 1950s? That's what people used to say. It's a quaint image perhaps, but I expect people down there are tired of such out-of-date, rather patronising and stereotypical views from the other side of the world  - or that large country next door - so I'll stop that right now.

New Zealand's Motor Trade Association (MTA) raised a smile out of me yesterday. Marketing manager Ian Stronach was in touch with me a while back asking for permission to republish a short comment piece I'd written in their house magazine ('Shift' - dealer news and views). No problem, I said. He kindly sent over the subsequent hardcopy - the April edition - and it landed on my desk yesterday.

The pullout quote from the article in large font next to my picture on page 2 is this utter gem: 'We are social animals'. Fantastic! Yes folks, it doesn't get much more profound than that! (Read the article that was reproduced here). I should really quit now, while I'm ahead, go out on a high.

Seriously, I hope dealers across NZ enjoyed reading it.

The magazine is an interesting and highly informative read, actually. One of the few things I know about the NZ car market is that Japan ships a whole load of four-year-old cars to the place. They are cheap used cars for NZ drivers (it's helpful too that Japan drives on the left) and Japan's industry is geared to replacing them on that four year product cycle when the domestic roadworthy test also becomes more difficult/expensive. It's one of those arrangements that just works well all round. How sizeable is that trade these days? Pretty sizeable. Looks like it's around 9,000 used imports a month. For comparison, the new car market in February was 5,800 units. 


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