Wairarapa drivers still in love with gas guzzlers

By Brendan Manning


Big V6 and V8 cars are still in hot demand - despite perceptions about their lack of fuel efficiency, a local dealer says.

New Motor Trade Association figures show 7101 used cars changed hands in Wairarapa last year, 23 per cent more than in 2011.

Most were sold privately.

Owner of Masterton's Prestige Cars, Robbie Froome, said most sales last year were bigger Holdens and Ford Falcons, bucking the national trend of motorists shifting to smaller five-door hatches.

Many customers were not phased by rising fuel prices, he said.

"The fuel goes up and they sort of wander away from big cars for about two to three weeks, and then they're back again looking at them.

"It takes a very short time for them to get their heads around it.

"I think, at the end of the day, if you're a big car person, you're a big car person, that's just the way you are," Mr Froome said.

Nationwide, 782,575 used cars changed hands last year - up 23 per cent year-on-year. The majority (451,218) were through private sales such as Trade Me.

MTA spokesman Ian Stronach said the number of new cars imported (100,795) had been steadily growing and now outstripped used imports (81,827).

The Toyota Corolla, Suzuki Swift and Mazda 3 were the highest selling used imports respectively last year.

Unlike the early 2000s when New Zealand was importing two used imports for every new car, used imports had now dropped off - due to tougher exhaust emission standards and the proliferation of used cars already in the domestic market, he said.

Although the number of imported used cars were well short of mid-2000s levels, they remained a strong part of the local market, Mr Stronach said.

New Zealand still had a problem with holding on to older cars.

"The reason for that is they get to a price point where you go to trade it in, or you go to sell it on Trade Me, and it's worth a grand or less, the dealer doesn't want it, no one wants it on Trade Me.

"But this car still works and you can still get a warrant reasonably easy, so a lot of New Zealanders are retaining quite old cars."

There were 2.8 million to 2.9 million licensed light vehicles in the country with an average age of 13 years - "ancient by first world standards," Mr Stronach said.

Buyers had been favouring newer, more fuel efficient cars.

Trade Me spokesman Jeff Hunkin said around 140,000 cars were sold on the site last year. Toyota, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Ford and Honda were the most popular makes respectively.


By the numbers


Wairarapa used car sales:

All of 2012

1143 cars sold from the public to traders (29 per cent increase)

1937 cars sold from traders to the public (29 per cent increase)

4021 cars sold privately between members of the public (19 per cent increase)

23 per cent year on year increase

National used car sales:

All of 2012

141,766 cars sold from the public to traders (26 per cent increase)

189,591 cars sold from traders to the public (29 per cent increase)

451,218 cars sold privately between members of the public (20 per cent increase)

23 per cent year on year increase

Source: MTA

- WAIRARAPA TIMES-AGE

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