New cars set for bumper year

The Suzuki Swift, the top-selling passenger car model in April, has been recalled. Photo / Supplied
The Suzuki Swift, the top-selling passenger car model in April, has been recalled. Photo / Supplied

Effects of Japanese earthquake left behind as sales accelerate.

The local new passenger car market continues to perform strongly with April registrations of 5430, up 27.5 per cent compared with last year.

And this year continues to look like a bumper year for New Zealand car companies, with sales up 17.2 per cent.

The strong start to the new financial year was reflected in the commercial sector with 1618 registrations, up 19.7 per cent on April last year. Year-to-date numbers are about even, just slightly down, 25 units, on 2011.

"The strong showing this month of the new-car market can, in part, be explained by low sales last April as a result of the impact of the March 11 Japanese earthquake and tsunami," said Perry Kerr, chief executive officer of the Motor Industry Association.

"That being said, the market is performing better than we forecast at the beginning of the year. I can only repeat that the MIA members and their dealers are very happy at the strong performance we are seeing from the new-vehicle market."

For April, Toyota continues to lead in all sectors with 785 passenger car registrations and 420 commercial registrations, giving a total for the month of 1205 registrations.

For passenger cars, Holden was in number-two position with 550 registrations, just four units ahead of Hyundai in third place with 546 registrations.

Year-to-date second and third positions were reversed. Hyundai was in second position with 2620 registrations ahead of Holden with 2603.

For commercial vehicles the top four positions remained unchanged, with Toyota selling 420 vehicles followed by Ford 331, Nissan 219 and Mitsubishi 127. For the year to date Toyota has recorded 1562 registrations, Ford 920, Nissan 828 and Mitsubishi 583.

The top-selling passenger car model for the month was the Suzuki Swift (with 228 registrations) followed by the Toyota Corolla (218) and the newly released Mazda CX5 (179).

The Corolla remains the top-selling model for year to date with 1506 registrations, followed by the Suzuki Swift (1169) and the Hyundai i30 (853).

In the commercial segment, the Ford Ranger took the number-one spot with 279 registrations, followed just one unit behind on 278 registrations by the perennial top seller, the Toyota Hilux. Nissan Navara was third with 214 registrations.

For the year to date, the Hilux remains the top-selling commercial vehicle with 898 registrations, followed by the Nissan Navara with 789 and the Ford Ranger 693.

And though Suzuki New Zealand may be celebrating its top spot in April with passenger cars, it started May on a sour note with the number-one seller, the Swift hatchback, being recalled.

About 3000 Swifts are being recalled in New Zealand due to a fuel-pipe defect. Worldwide 109,000 of the hatchbacks are being recalled.

It comes after four cars produced between September 2010 and last month were reported to leak petrol because of an inadequate connection on the rubber fuel filler hose.

"There have been no reports of such defects abroad," said a spokesperson for Suzuki Motors in Japan.

In New Zealand, Swift owners are being contacted by letter saying a free repair at their local Suzuki dealership will take half an hour.

- NZ Herald

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