Foot on accelerator for Kiwi car sales

Damien O’Carroll



Stuff NZ Newspapers


New car registrations soared to a new high in December, cementing 2021 as the biggest on record for the new-car industry in New Zealand. It was also a record year for both the Ford Ranger and the Tesla Model 3 in New Zealand. The Ranger remained the country’s best-selling vehicle, clocking up a massive 12,580 sales for the year, while the Model 3 became the first electric vehicle to break into the top 10 (and top five for passenger sales) with an impressive 3271 sales last year, beating out the Mazda CX-5 to take ninth place in the overall annual sales, bumping the Suzuki Swift out of the top 10. With 12,097 sales of new vehicles, the final month of 2021 was the strongest December on record. Registrations were up 44.3 per cent (3714 units) on the same month in 2020. This meant 2021 finished with a record-breaking 165,287 new car registrations, a massive increase of 38.3 per cent (45,837 units) over 2020. According to the Motor Industry Association (MIA), the previous strongest year was 2018 with 161,519 registrations. The Ranger maintained its stranglehold over the sales charts again in December, with 778 units registered, followed by the Mitsubishi Triton (757 units), the Toyota Hilux (644 units) and then the Tesla Model 3 in fourth spot (619 units). ‘‘The strongest December on record solidified 2021 as the strongest year for passenger and SUVs, second strongest for commercials and strongest year ever overall,’’ MIA chief executive David Crawford said. ‘‘For 2022 the order book remains strong, with long wait lists for popular models.’’ Crawford also noted that the fleet mix was changing too, with more hybrids and EVs in the mix. Vehicles with some form of electrification grew strongly in 2021 thanks to wider availability and incentive from the Clean Car Discount scheme. There were 6899 BEVs, 2461 PHEVs and 13,794 hybrid vehicles registered for the year compared with 1554 BEVs, 756 PHEVs and 8667 hybrids in 2020. The top-selling EVs for December were the Tesla Model 3 (619 units) followed by the Hyundai Kona (138 units) and the Hyundai Ioniq 5 (70 units), while the overall top sellers for the year were the Model 3 with 3271 registrations, followed by the MG ZS (872 units) and Hyundai Kona (825 units). Toyota once again dominated hybrid sales in 2021, with the three top sellers all being from the Japanese brand – the RAV4 with 4596 registrations was followed by the Corolla (1987 units) and the Highlander (942 units). Once again the small to medium SUV segments made up 56 per cent of sales for the year, while the top-selling vehicles for 2021 were the Ford Ranger (12,580 units) followed by the Toyota Hilux (8430 units) and the Mitsubishi Outlander (6506 units). For the year, the top three market leaders were: Toyota, with an 18 per cent market share (29,258 units); Mitsubishi, with 12 per cent (20,140 units); and Ford, which had a 10 per cent market share and sold 17,286 units, of which just 4706 weren’t Rangers.