Car sales hit accelerator

ROELAND VAN DEN BERGH
Last updated 08:16 06/07/2012

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New car sales are at a seven-year high on a wave of deep discounting, catch-up fleet sales and the end of supply shortages.

New vehicle registrations in June totalled 10,101, up by a third on the same month last year when production of many Japanese makes was disrupted by natural disasters in Thailand and Japan. The June total includes both cars and commercial vehicles.

Dealers put the rebound down to a mix of supply returning to normal, companies catching up on fleet replacement programmes, the annual agricultural Fieldays and strong competition for buyers.

King Toyota chief executive David Clarke said deals on new cars offering up to $10,000 off the window price "are exceptionally good" as the industry tries to keep sales going. Some new family sedans were selling for little more than $20,000.

The biggest discounts were available on end-of-line models and included lengthy warranty and free servicing periods to entice buyers who would otherwise have bought a late model used car, Clarke said.

While supplies of vehicles had returned to normal in the last two months, some of models of the popular Toyota Hilux ute range were still hard to get, Clarke said.

But most sales were to companies that had put off replacing their fleets since 2010 for economic reasons.

Motor Industry Association chief executive Perry Kerr said the new vehicle industry was "extremely bouyant".

"June new car registrations were the highest since 2005 which was a peak in sales over the preceding 16 years," he said. The 7142 new cars registered in June was up a third on the same month last year. For the year to date, new car sales were up 22 per cen,t with 38,145 sold, while commercial vehicles were up just 9 per cent at 11,704. Fairfax NZ

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