NZ records strongest February in history for car sales

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Words: Matthew Hansen
3 Mar 2021

There were plenty of thoughts that January’s incredible stat as the third best January for new-car registrations in New Zealand history wouldn’t be repeated, but here we are a month later — confirming that the month that followed saw the greatest number of sales ever seen in a February month.

In total, 12,358 new cars were registered in February 2021, a 8 per cent (920 vehicle) rise over the same month last year. It means that, year-to-date, the market is up 7.1 per cent over 2020, as it prepares to overlap with last year’s first Alert Level 4 lockdown.

Motor Industry Association CEO David Crawford notes that the high sales figures are similar to January’s, in that they’re linked to a mountain of recent stock arriving at the ports. This indicates that the high numbers are likely to be somewhat temporary.

“The February market has benefitted from recent stock arrivals and a resilient local economy where New Zealanders continue to spend what might otherwise be spent on international travel on new vehicles,” he said.

It was a solid month for Toyota, who topped both the market share list and the individual model registration list. The Hilux toppled the Ford Ranger with 786 registrations, compared to the Ranger’s 542. The pairing were split by the second-placed Mitsubishi Outlander, on 594. Toyota led market share with 16 per cent, over Mitsubishi (13 per cent) and Kia (8 per cent).

What’s maybe most curious about the month’s data is the rise of compact SUVs. Despite utes locking out the top three spots, compact SUVs had the largest overall market share, with a staggering 22 per cent, slightly ahead of medium SUVs (also 22 per cent), with utes on 14 per cent.

The Kia Seltos and Mitsubishi ASX led the small crossover charge, winding up sixth and eighth in the 10 best sellers for the month. The Mitsubishi Triton and Kia Sportage were fourth and fifth, the Mazda CX-5 was seventh, and the Suzuki Swift and Toyota RAV4 rounded out the top 10.

The momentum behind electrified cars also continued. In total, 181 fully electric vehicles were registered, followed by 752 hybrids and 80 plug-in hybrids.


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