NZ new vehicle sales rise in November, heading for a record in 2014

New Zealand new vehicle sales reached their highest ever for November with 2014 expected to be a record year as a buoyant local economy and cheaper prices underpin demand.

Registrations for new vehicles rose 7.6 percent to 11,176 in November from the previous record for the month in 2013, the Lower Hutt-based Motor Industry Association said in a statement.

New vehicle registrations are 13 percent ahead of the same time last year and at their current run rate of 117,758 are expected to reach a new record annual total by the end of the year. The higher value of the local currency, which reached a record on a trade-weighted basis this year, is lowering the cost of imported vehicles while consumer demand has been supported by economic growth.

“The Motor Industry Association expects total new vehicle registrations to top 125,000 units for 2014, with the previous best year being 1984 when 123,247 new vehicle were sold,” said association chief executive David Crawford.

Sales of new commercial vehicles rose 6.1 percent to 178 in November from the year earlier month, making it the highest recorded for a November since the association started keeping records in 1981. Some 33,920 new commercial vehicles have been sold in the first 11 months of this year, already surpassing the 30,881 total for the 2013 year which was a record.

Ford Motor Co’s Ford Ranger was the top selling commercial model for October, followed by Toyota Motor Corp’s Toyota Hilux, with sales driven by a buoyant rural economy as farming incomes were boosted by high milk prices and good growing conditions. Sales are expected to weaken from their highs in 2015 as milk prices fall from record levels.

Sales of passenger vehicles rose 8.2 percent to 8,063 in November from the year earlier month, and were at their highest level for a November since 1984. The Toyota Corolla was the top selling passenger model, followed by the Toyota Yaris and the Toyota RAV4.

Vehicle prices were 2.7 percent lower in the third quarter of this year than the same period a year earlier and have declined for every quarter so far this year, according to data from Statistics New Zealand.

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