By Tina Morrison
New Zealand new vehicle sales surged to a record in 2014, helped by a buoyant local economy and cheaper prices.
New vehicle registrations surpassed 126,000 in calendar 2014, beating the previous record of 123,247 from 1984, and ahead of the 113,294 recorded for 2013, according to provisional figures provided by the Motor Industry Association.
Demand for new vehicles in 2014 was underpinned by a stronger local currency, with the kiwi gaining 8.3 percent against the yen during the year, helping importers reduce their prices.
Meanwhile, the underlying strength in the economy, which expanded at a 2.9 percent annual pace in the third quarter, gave consumers the confidence to spend on big ticket items like cars.
"The New Zealand economy is strong," MIA chief executive David Crawford told BusinessDesk.
"The outlook for 2015 is for another strong year, but I do not anticipate significant growth over 2014 volumes, more likely a small to modest increase."
Mr Crawford estimates new vehicle sales may increase to around 127,000 to 128,000 in 2015 as lower dairy commodity prices and a weaker currency are balanced against a more buoyant beef and sheep sector.
Sales of light commercial vehicles helped underpin new vehicle sales in 2014, with registrations jumping about 20 percent to more than 36,000, reflecting the buoyant rural economy as farming incomes were boosted by high milk prices and good growing conditions.
The Ford Ranger overtook the Toyota Hilux as the biggest selling commercial model, ending the 32-year run for the Toyota model, with the provisional figures showing it achieved an extra 560 sales.
Sales of passenger vehicles appear set to total more than 90,000 in 2014, exceeding 2013's 82,400 tally but remaining below the 1973 record of 97,346, the MIA said.
source: newshub archive