New Zealand's monthly new car sales rose to a record in June as the ongoing themes of cheap finance and an expanding population were given a boost by the recent Fieldays event, where resurgent rural confidence spurred farmers to buy commercial vehicles.
Registrations of new vehicles climbed 17 per cent to 15,985 in June from the same month a year earlier, eclipsing the previous monthly record in October 2016 when 14,709 cars were registered, the Motor Industry Association said in a statement. Of that, passenger car sales rose 11 per cent to 10,181 and commercial vehicles surged 29 per cent to 5,804 with strong demand at Fieldays.
"While the 2017 Agricultural Fieldays held at the beginning of June has boosted the volume of new vehicle sales for the month of June, low interest rates, strong net immigration, strong New Zealand currency and a healthy tourism market continue to underpin the sales of new vehicles," MIA chief executive David Crawford said.
New Zealand's new car market has been a pillar of strength in the economy over the past three years as sales records have regularly been beaten in an environment where employers have been able to cater to the expanding population, low interest rates have made it easier to finance new vehicles, and a strong New Zealand dollar has lowered the price for imports.
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Government figures show vehicles, parts and accessories were the country's biggest imported commodity, rising 16 per cent to $8.26 billion in the 12 months ended May 31.
The MIA figures show Toyota remained the market leader with a 21 per cent share of new cars sold in June, followed by Ford with 11 per cent and Holden at 8 per cent. Year-to-date sales climbed 15 per cent to 79,131. Of that, Toyota held the biggest share at 17 per cent, while Ford had 11 per cent and Holden had 9 percent.
The strong car market has been a boon to the auto companies which have generated bigger revenue. Financial statements filed with the Companies Office show Toyota New Zealand boosted revenue 8.6 per cent to $1.18 billion in the year ended March 31 and widened gross margins to 10 per cent from 8.9 per cent a year earlier, while Ford Motor Co's sales jumped 18 per cent to $640.8 million in calendar 2016 with gross margins expanding to 6.5 per cent from 5.1 per cent.
Holden New Zealand's revenue increased 7.8 per cent to $572.7 million in calendar 2016, although its gross margins shrank to 7.9 per cent from 8.5 per cent.