Talk Money with Tony Field - November 6, 2015

(file, Reuters)
(file, Reuters)

Economists are predicting the car market could be close to peaking.

Infometrics says total car sales rose 3.8 percent last month from a year ago. First-time registrations of used imports flattened, while new car sales climbed.

It forecasts that car sales are at near their peak and will "moderate" in 2016.

"Underpinning this cooling of sales volumes, will be rising car prices, at a time when business and consumer spending intentions are more subdued."

First-time registrations of used imports fell 2.8 percent (seasonally adjusted) in October. It was the third consecutive month of falling used import sales volumes (seasonally adjusted).

Infometrics says that used imports are susceptible to rising prices because used cars are often purchased as second vehicles.

New car sales rose a seasonally adjusted 4.2 percent in October. New car sales are now 7.6 percent above their 2014 level.

Infometrics predicts new car sales will ease next year.

"The recent deterioration of job prospects and weakening of business confidence will subdue New Zealanders' appetites to make new car purchases."  A lower New Zealand dollar is also likely to force car dealers to raise vehicle prices.

The Motor Industry Association says Toyota remained the overall market leader last month, with 26 percent market share (3,324 vehicles). That was helped by a lift in the sales of rental vehicles.

It was followed by Holden with 10 percent market share (1,305 vehicles) and Ford also with 10 percent market share (1,225 vehicles).

For the year so far Toyota, Holden, Ford, Mazda and Hyundai are the top five overall market leaders.


Volkswagen's sales in New Zealand fell by around 20 percent last month. It was the first full month since the VW emissions scandal erupted in mid-September.

VW sold 253 vehicles in New Zealand last month compared to 314 in September and 291 in August. Those are vehicle registration figures supplied to the Motor Industry Association.

The 253 vehicles sold in October compare to 307 in the same month a year ago and to 286 in October 2013.

VW's market share was 2 percent last month, compared to 3 percent in September and 4 percent in August.

Its overall sales ranking slipped from 8th to 9th last month.

For the year to date, its market ranking remains at number eight and it retains 4 percent market share.

October is just one month and VW will be hoping that in the coming months this will turn out to be a temporary blip rather than the start of a trend.

It is also worth noting that some other companies, like Nissan, saw a dip in figures (395 vehicles sold last month compared to 425 in September). So it is important not to read too much into the figures.

VW owns other brands like Audi, Skoda and Bentley.

Some Audi and Skoda cars have been identified in the scandal, but not Bentley.

There were 121 Audi vehicles sold last month, compared to 187 in September and 166 in August.  Audi sold 173 vehicles in October of 2014 and 121 in 2013.

Skoda sold 92 vehicles last month, up from 81 in September and compared to 93 in August. Skoda sold 85 vehicles in October 2014 and 74 in 2013.

Bentley sells very few vehicles in New Zealand, so it is even more difficult to draw conclusions from the figures.

There were two sold last month, compared to five in September and one in August.   There was one sold in October of 2014 and two in the same month in 2013.

Facebook has hit a new milestone. It is now valued at more than US$300 billion (NZ$453 billion).

It has surpassed General Electric (GE) in value.

GE can trace its history back to Thomas Edison and the light bulb, so many on Wall Street see this as another sign of the move from the industrial age to the digital age.

The largest companies on Wall Street are Apple (US$680 billion), Alphabet/Google ($520 billion) and Microsoft ($435 billion).

Oil giant Exxon is worth US$356 billion and investment company Berkshire Hathaway is valued at US$336 billion.

Amazon is worth US$302 billion.

General electric is worth US$298 billion.

The top ten is rounded out by Johnson & Johnson (US$282 billion) and Wells Fargo (US$279 billion).

Fewer people are expecting house prices to rise, according to the latest survey from ASB.

A net 52 percent of people surveyed in the September quarter think prices will increase over the next 12 months. That is still high but it is down from the previous survey when a net 65 percent thought prices would rise. The July number was the highest reading since the survey began in 1996.

The biggest loss of confidence was in Auckland and Canterbury.

A net 50 percent of people in Auckland think prices will keep rising, compared to 71 percent in the previous survey three months ago.

A net 40 percent of people in Canterbury think prices will rise, compared to 58 percent three months ago.

There is also more expectation of lower interest rates.  A net 15 percent expect further cuts to the official cash rate.

The only time when expectations of an increase in rates had been lower was during the global financial crisis.

The New Zealand dollar has been a strong performer over the past day.

The Kiwi was trading at 66.22 US cents at 7am, rising 0.44 percent overnight.

It was up by the same percentage against the Australian dollar, at 92.69 cents.

The Kiwi rose 1.6 percent against the British Pound, trading at 43.55 pence.

The NZ dollar was up 0.65 percent to 80.66 Yen.

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