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Car Talk

By Jack Biddle

New Vehicle Registrations Continue Their Roller Coaster Run in 2023

In June this year, Toyota New Zealand (TNZ) celebrated its highest sales month in its entire history with 5,403 vehicles sold across its Toyota and Lexus range.

They lead the charge as the 23,560 total registrations recorded for the entire new vehicle industry, was also a record breaker.

The main reason for the massive leap in the June sales numbers was the Governments Clean Car Discount policy change which came into effect from July 1 which resulted in either an increase in fees or a reduction in rebates. Both scenarios had a significant negative impact on the big selling diesel and hybrid powered vehicles especially.

One month on, and according to the recently released Motor Industry Associations (MIA) numbers, the total July 2023 registrations for the entire new vehicle industry plunged to just 6,202 which were only 799 sales more than what TNZ achieved alone in June.

MIA Chief Executive Aimee Wiley says this result is 44.1% lower than July 2022, 54.9% lower than the monthly average for 2022 and 49.6% lower than the average of the first five months of 2023. “A decline in registrations was expected in July, for the market to rebalance following the record month of June. What is concerning is the extent of market disruption generated from Clean Car Discount policy changes. This will likely be causing unnecessary complexity and uncertainty for distributors, the dealership network and the entire supply chain associated with automotive throughout the country”.

On a brighter note following the highs of June and the lows of July, the year-to-date registrations are in fact only 2.0% lower compared to the 2022 numbers so there is no need to start feeling sorry for the new car industry just yet.

The top 3 overall market leaders in July 23 were Toyota with 16.7% market share (1,036 units) followed by Ford with 14.5% (899 units) and Kia with 8.1% (501 units).

New vehicle registrations by motive power for the month of July were 826 Battery Electric, 406 Plug-in Hybrids, 1,150 Non plug-in Hybrids and 3,820 Internal Combustion Engine vehicles.

To highlight the up and down market in the commercial sector currently, the Toyota Hilux had 1703 registrations against its name in June and only 518 in July while the Ford Ranger went from 975 registrations to 518 for the same period.

The coming months will be interesting to follow. Loyalty to certain popular brands will no doubt be tested as customers still wait patiently for their back orders to be filled with many living in fear of potential price increases and lower trade in prices when their new vehicle does finally land in the country. Waiting lists have stretched out as far as 12 months for many with confirmed reports of customers cancelling their long awaited delivery and signing up for a different make and model that is readily available.

It seems brand loyalty only goes so far these days.

Providing a vehicle meets ones needs, has a solid warranty programme and is competitively priced, it would appear the actual brand and where it is produced, is becoming less important to many consumers.

One only has to look at the rapid rise of models such as MG, Haval and BYD and their country of origin to see past prejudices have been well and truly pushed aside for many consumers in New Zealand.

Local Whitianga resident Mike Christie is a great example. When it came time to update his vehicle, he did the research and ended up purchasing a fully electric BYD ATTO 3 which are designed and produced out of China. BYD stands for BUILD YOUR DREAMS, an unusual name as far as mainstream motor vehicles go, but that doesn’t faze Mike one bit. “I decided to go fully electric with my next vehicle purchase, did my research and decided BYD had the overall advanced technology that the majority of other Battery Electric Manufacturer’s don’t currently have. Their Blade Battery design for example is, in my opinion, well in advance of the field in terms of charging ability, capacity and safety plus it adds structural strength to the platform of the vehicle by way of its design. It is technology that is now attracting huge interest and attention from other manufacturers of fully electrified vehicles around the globe” says Mike. And when asked whether he is worried about purchasing a motor vehicle manufactured out of China his answer was an emphatic no way. A walk around the car with Mike highlighting its specification levels and added features plus a quick test drive, would confirm the popularity of this vehicle and the motoring awards it has collected in such a short space of time, is not just a load of hype.

The industry as a whole once feared the Japanese, then the Koreans when it came to future market place dominance. Well you can certainly add the product out of China to that list.

The top ten selling new cars/SUV for July were

1. Toyota Rav4 319

2. Ford Everest 265

3. Kia Niro 184

4. Mitsubishi Outlander 176

5. Tesla Model Y 169

6. Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross 153

7. Hyundai Tucson 130

8. Nissan X-Trail 126

9. Kia Seltos 121

10. Suzuki Swift 102

The top 5 selling commercial models were

1. Ford Ranger 518

2. Toyota Hilux 270

3. Inveco Daily 82

4. Nissan Nivara 69

5. Mitsubishi Triton 65


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