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New car sales start well

Monday 5th February 2007

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Official figures for car sales registered in the first month of 2007 show that new cars have made a strong start for the year, but that used imported cars have yet to get back to the 10,000 sales per month average levels enjoyed in the first months of 2006.

A total of 6,792 new cars were sold in January according to figures supplied by Land Transport New Zealand.

This is up 8% on 2006, and continues the strong showing for new cars, a market that has now enjoyed five years of resurgent growth since subdued sales during the 1990s.

Used imported car sales for January were 9,799, which is 13% down on January 2006.

According to Motor Trade Association (MTA), used car imports have come under pressure, particularly in the later-model areas, in the face of fierce competition from other countries for near-new cars in the Japanese auction centres, and the increased number of first registered in NZ near-new cars available from the strengthened new car market of recent years.

The second half of 2006 saw a consistent monthly level of used import sales of 9,000- plus, said MTA spokesman, Andy Cuming.

This year, the pattern continues, showing that conditions have changed markedly from the 2003-2005 period, when monthly totals of 12,000 used import cars were sold.

Andy Cuming said that the outlook for 2007 was for no substantial change to this pattern, although buying conditions in Japanese auction centres may ease somewhat due to reduced buying for the Russian used market.

Toyota continues to be the top-selling make of new car in New Zealand, with 1,164 sales for 17.1% of the market, followed by Holden with 1,054 for 15.5%.

These brands were well clear of Honda in third place with 664 (9.8%), followed by Ford 520 (7.7%), Mitsubishi 447 (6.6%), and Mazda 402 (5.9%).

Toyota Corolla (655 sales), and Holden Commodore (623 sales) were by far the most popular individual models in New Zealand in January 2007, continuing their very close 2006 rivalry.

A total of 1099 new motorcycle were sold in January. This was three per cent up on 2006, but significantly, more than double the average monthly volume just three years ago.

Motorcycle sales in the past several years have just sky-rocketed, with more and more New Zealanders opting for this alternative or additional mode of transport for both work and leisure, said Andy Cuming.

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