Car sales hitting top speed
Dealers grinning as sales increaseSONIA BEAL
Marlborough car dealers have experienced their best year of sales for new and used cars since the 2008 financial crisis.
McKendry Motors owner Andrew McKendry, of Blenheim, said the increase in car sales pointed to a buoyant economy.
The last time sales had been nearly as good was shortly before 2008, he said.
"It hasn't quite got back to that level, but we're definitely up, it was certainly an improved year from the previous two years," Mr McKendry said.
In 2013, the dealership, which primarily deals Mazda, sold 70 passenger vehicles and 39 commercial vehicles.
The previous year saw 58 passenger vehicles sold and 34 commercial.
Sales of new cars were up about 20 per cent on last year, and used cars were about the same, Mr McKendry said.
"A lot of that's to do with the economy being on an up."
There was also a rise in the number of commercial vehicles sold, as well as utes, which were being used more for recreational purposes such as boat towing, Mr McKendry said.
The dealership's biggest seller for 2013 was the Mazda CX5 SUV.
Mr McKendry was pleased to see the return of more buyers last year in the over-65 age bracket.
Many people were continuing to downsize their larger vehicles for smaller ones.
Marlborough Wadsco Motor World co-director Jared Morris was optimistic about last year's boost in car sales, which would spill over to 2014.
Sales of new cars at Wadsco were up from 230 in 2012 to 273 in 2013.
"Its been a long time coming," Mr Morris said.
"The market has been pretty slow for a number of years.
"Obviously it's coming back to what it was in 2006-07.
" We're certainly not there yet, but 2014 is looking to be a really good year for us in the industry."
Wadsco sold 71 Holden Colorado utes, their second biggest light commercial vehicle sold last year, and 48 Suzuki Swifts, the most popular passenger car in Marlborough.
Phil Brown Motors owner Phil Brown, of Blenheim, said sales last year remained steady.
He specialised in smaller, second-hand cars mainly imported from Japan.
Christchurch Armstrong Prestige general manager Glen Rudhall said that while they had a database of core customers from Marlborough and Nelson, there was no real change in car sales to people from Marlborough.
"There's been such an increase overall, it's hard to pin it down to one particular area," he said.
Sales last year were up about 12 per cent overall.
The Mercedes-Benz C-Class range was their top seller for 2013.
But the SUV remained the fastest growing market for Canterbury, Marlborough and the rest of the South Island, he said.
This story has been updated from the original
- The Marlborough Express