Car sales enter a sales shadow in November with SUV demand lower, especially for medium-sized SUVs. Commercial demand stays strong

The new car market dropped back down to earth in November, after hitting the afterburners in October.

New Zealand-new passenger vehicle sales fell from 11,767 new units in October to just 9,543 in November, a -2,224 unit drop, or -19%.

Comparing November with the same month a year ago, the data isn't positive either, falling from 10,289 to 9,543, or a -7.3% decline.

A big part of this retreat is a fall in SUV demand which is -9.5% lower year-on-year. Medium SUV demand is down -16.5%.

The other big influence is that rental car companies did their main buying in October, leaving a sales shadow in November.

The annual rate of passenger car sales has been about 108,000 for more than a year now, even with the rental car demand

For dealers however, the commercial market remains strong and is offsetting the slip or stabilisation in passenger vehicles.

Commercial vehicle sales were up +11.9% year-on-year and the strongest growth rate in more than a year. Annually, they have grown more than +4% pa.

New vehicle sales activity contrasts markedly with that for used imports. We don't have November data for them yet, but they have declined year-on-year for the past nine months and are running at an annual rate of under 155,000 transactions, the lowest level in 18 months.

In the past year, we added more than 315,000 new and used import vehicles to our roads. One piece of monthly data not available is the level of 'scrappage' going on. But annual data suggests this is high too. There are now more than 4.2 million licensed vehicles on New Zealand roads and that is growing at about +3% per year. And that suggests that scrappage may be running at higher levels than recent sales levels.

New vehicles sold

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Source: NZTA
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Source: NZTA
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Source: NZTA
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Source: NZTA
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Source: NZTA

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48 Comments

Can anyone explain the repeated peaks in October each year and lows in April? I assume April could be to do with the new financial year perhaps?

Yes many people getting their tax refund in October/November and its an early Christmas present ? Could even be car dealers offering better prices and deals during this period.

Hmmm yet feb is the most dire month for car sales so I'd expect deals around then, and will be actually looking at that time.

If you follow EVs as I do then October & November for jap import sales always does well. I assume the pattern then isnt rental sales so a tax refund? you could be right, dunno would be interesting to know that though.

Also EVs have been selling like hotcakes with almost empty showrooms so prices have jumped 10% (maybe more) in November, and now the showrooms seem to have more stock. Of course the petrol price has dropped way back.

https://www.transport.govt.nz/resources/vehicle-fleet-statistics/monthly...

Car dealers get their new (next year) stock arriving and do deals to clear the remainder of that years stock in Oct/Nov. In essence you buy a new car, and in 1-2 months its one year old already from a resale perspective.

"rental car companies did their main buying in October". Unlikely to be a one-off.

Many purchases of rental cars occur at very favourable terms too. I know some manufacturers that can't and won't compete on the prices offered. The reason the manufacturers offer good terms to the rental companies is so that foreign holidaymakers have that experience of driving a nice new car around the countryside and then go back to their home market and purchase the brand - good old fashioned 'nice experience' selling.

And it works.. had two new Mazda rental cars in the last month, and this morning I've been looking at the new Mazda 6s on trademe. Not going to buy one just yet, but when the Honda needs to be put out of it's misery I'll be looking at the Mazdas.

I have had mazda's for decades but just got a Toyota. I/we like it a lot, nice to drive and very frugal. My next car though will be an EV probably a Hyundai ionic.

EVs are still 5 years away from being worth looking at for me. Too expensive and poor performance and shit range. Plus they are all designed by this guy

Partner wants to update her car, but she can't stand the look of the leaf. And no point spending $50k on an EV when a $15k petrol car will work out cheaper in the long run.

The Mazda 6 wagon would be a very Pragmatic decision, diesel if doing longer trips with engine warm

Nope, i'll never buy a diesel. Not really a fan of killing people unnecessarily, or the expense and maintenance requirements of diesel. A petrol or petrol hybrid till electric makes economical and practical sense. Diesel passenger cars should be banned from private ownership IMO

STINK BUG
its because if you import during the season there is every chance your ship will be sent away
so most get as much as they can source outside the stink bug season to stock up and then only order top up through the season
https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12168541

It is common for rental car companies to buy stock in October, and sell their old stock in march / April.

This means they have extra cars over the summer months (when tourism is at its peak), but don't have to store or carry ownership costs of those cars over the off peak months.

The article directly stated that the October peak was due to rental car company purchases. I would guess the April low is to do with there being a flood of 0.5-4 year old used cars coming onto the market at very competitive prices, making purchasing a new vehicle less attractive. (some companies like europcar (average fleet age of 3 months), seem to buy new cars with a bulk discount, rent them out for six months, and then sell them off while they are still basically new, taking advantage of the spread between bulk and retail pricing).

The last few years a lot of car sales will have been purchased 'on the house.' Now I don't mean that the cars were free, but if your house has gone down in price by a couple of hundred grand - as many will have done in Auckland these last few months. Then the car 'on the house' doesn't look quite as attractive.

Don't forget the 60k wedding, the three trips to Bali, the two jetskis and the Louis Vuitton bag.

And the Smashed Avocado on toast!

At $1.50each I dont think that is a biggee...yum.

That vehicle purchase you mention was more than likely for a Holden Maloo ute by the way.

Need the ute for the jetski and motoX bike buddy!

Don't forget the world cruise, Coachella implant, and new hip joints.

Endorsed by Lorde?

Definitely the cooling "wealth effect" at work a bit. If your house isn't getting monthly on-paper capital gains (in Auckland and Christchurch), doesn't seem such a great idea to buy a new car.

??? Auckland property hasn’t fallen much on any index. The only falls have been in real terms, not nominal

Is this the decline and death of the SUV as the go-to city runabout...? One can only hope.

The problem is that there are so many of these top heavy SUVs and Utes on the roads now that even if new purchases go to zero, in our lifetimes there will always be difficulty seeing past these things. For both following drivers or people wanting to walk cross the road through a line up of these things.

Obviously, it's a good time to go bargain - if you're after a new car.

The end-of-the-month is often the best time to flex your bargaining muscle - when dealers are desperate to reach their monthly targets (and collect their bonuses).

But, honestly, don't waste your money on new cars - which depreciate rapidly.......

Put your dosh into property - which is always a better bet!

TTP

Agent TTP recommends putting your dosh into overpriced property when the risks are increasingly skewed towards shrinking equity. The nations appetite for "putting it on the house" will also shrink along with it.

Hardly sound advice now is it?

"Hardly sound advice now is it?"

Compare the investment track-records of new cars versus property.......

Ask yourself which has performed better over time.

TTP

I have made money on quite a few cars in my life. Not like it cant be done, just got to know what something is worth and where the market is... I dont buy new junk though, only steel old stuff.

What you into, Sluggy? I was having a browse on TM the other day at "classics" and reckon a lot of them have more or less doubled over the last 2 or 3 years. I'm too late as usual.

Agent TTP, thumbs up to classic cars :) A tidy return on your Hillman Hunter even after installing a new motor - right?

Just Barfoots's fee will buy you a beautiful new Mazda 6 which could last 20-30 years

Definitely shop around for a real estate agent - and haggle over the commission.

Better still, have a go at selling privately.

Remember, you do NOT need to use a real estate agent.

TTP

Agent TTP, you forgot to mention the performing of background checks. Taking time to find one that has proven integrity and has a conscience is well worth it.

"integrity and has a conscience"
I thought we were talking about estate agents?

Petrol price rises might have been one cause?

Why do we not have the deregistering figures? Surely the NZTA or someone would be able to dig those up? I know that many cars would be scrapped without being deregistered, but at least there would be some info to be gained from deregistering numbers.

Scrapping a car without deregistering it is a silly idea with continuous registration. Sooner or later the bill will arrive. Only takes 2 minutes to rip the plates off and visit a post office to hand them in.

doesn’t surprise me. same sort of thing happening in the second-hand space. Labour taxing everyone to death, poor business confidence, house prices stalling across the Tasman. threats of legal action by commerce commission front and centre, fame recruiting hard out all points to a loss of confidence and pull back. Labour and Winston, and his sidekick Shane have made it abundantly clear that that are anti-business. They are very quickly instigating a slowdown, and possible correction. Only Orr is trying to maintain the status quo and fuel the Ponzi. It will be more about "not on my watch" in terms of home not wanting to preside over a financial system collapse, more than anything else.

Yes, its all labours fault. Nothing at all to do with the fact people are finally realising that the"rockstar" economy was a load of bull, and built on nothing more than rampant housing speculation and stupid immigration levels.

Is it Labours fault the milk prices have been falling for 11ish consecutive auctions?
Or that the price of crude spiked?
Or that the fed is raising rates and our dollar took a hit?
Certainly not their fault the Aussies have finally woken up to how they have been screwed by the banks now that the royal commission is shining a light in dark places.
Commerce commission threatening legal action.. but if people have played fair then what have they got to worry about?

10/10 for a good right whinger rant and trying to blame Labour for everything, but perhaps not be so obvious next time?

And you call yourself a pragmatist? couldn't be further form the truth!

About the response I expected.

True, a few commenting in this thread would benefit from a mechanic, from all the whining noises being generated.

"Why do we not have the deregistering figures?" good question!

With the ever increasing costs of panelbeating and carpainting along with the reducing prices of new cars mean that vehicles become uneconomical to repair and become "written off" on account of smaller amounts of damage.

There will undoubtedly be an increasing amount of deregisters as well as damaged cars rusting away in driveways/front yards.

This is a trend that has been happening over the last 20 odd years and accelerating.

https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/money/102939132/Necessary-dirty-and-unl...

The overall standard of cars on the road has not stopped improving over the years. I cannot remember the last time I had to change lanes to get out from behind a smoking old banger on the road. The last car I got rid of there was nothing wrong with it, still ran okay, sure the paint was bad but so old not worth selling so sold it to the wreckers. Its very easy to put your Rego on hold now online, highly recommended for a car you hardly drive.

Seriously, why do people buy new cars? I'm glad they do but, really, it makes no sense. The well-cared for two-year-old model looks the same, drives the same and is much cheaper. 40 years ago when technology was advancing quickly and models changed frequently, OK. Illogical today.

If you plan to drive it to 100-120k km then sure. It gets depreciated and you get exactly what you want.