New car sales highest since 1984

How good is the economy?

Pretty damn good if you use indicators like new car sales.

Registrations increased 3 percent to 12,110 in March from a year earlier, marking the strongest March level since 1984, according to the Lower Hutt-based Motor Industry Association.

Commercial vehicle registrations rose 6.5 percent to 3,919, the highest ever recorded for a March month while passenger vehicle registrations gained 1.4 percent to 8,191, the strongest level for the month since 1989.

New Zealand vehicle sales have hit annual records for the past two years, and in the first quarter of this year are tracking 3 percent ahead of last year.

Vehicle sales are being underpinned by a growing economy bolstered by record migration and tourism as rivalry keeps a lid on prices.  

“Strong net immigration, competitive pricing and end of financial year deals drove strong new vehicles registrations in March 2016,” said MIA chief executive David Crawford.

“The month of March continued the overall strong performance of the new vehicle sector over the last three years.”

People and companies don’t buy new vehicles when things are tight. Car sales is always a good economic indicator to watch.

It was the one thing I noticed in Fiji between 2012 and 2014, the changes in the vehicle fleet was astonishing. In 2012 there were many older cars, by 2014 there were plenty of new cars. Fiji was regaining its economic base.

So while Labour moans about the economy, people and businesses are showing their confidence by buying new vehicles.


– NZ Herald


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  • Quinton Hogg

    If anything the economy is two speed.
    Dairy and agriculture are doing it tough, but that happens every ten or so years. When i started work in Hamilton in 1985, Dairy was on it’s last legs!
    On a visit last week to some farming rellies down south there were no complaints just an acknowledgment of the need to work hard and keep a close eye on costs. The only issue was allocation of water rights which is an ongoing argument.
    Having said that during our trip south we visited Queenstown and Wanaka (and the matukituki).
    Both towns were humming. Likewise Cromwell. You could smell the money and optimisim. Builders working everywhere.
    Tourists everywhere, travelling and working. Few if any kiwi accents in restuarants.
    New ventures springing up, like the Cardrona Distillery. You don’t blow a pile of money on that sort of thing if you think the economy is rubbish.
    And judging by the vehicle we hired fleet sales are going well.
    I think labour is looking in the wrong places.

  • Seriously?

    In 1984 our population was 3.2 mil, it is now 4.5 mil.

    For the new car sales to be the equivalent today they would need to be about 40% up on the number sold in 1984.

    • Ross

      I am so confused right now.. can anyone explain what the event was in 1984 that would explain such extraordinary motor vehicle sales?

      • Seriously?

        Economic buoyancy, or so it is claimed (seemed more like trouble at the time).

        I get a bit fed up with “new high” in this or that. The classic is the stock market and the figures not inflation indexed – so of course new highs will be regularly set (if they were not that would be the newsworthy thing).

      • M C Chinaman

        Was wondering that. On an annual basis this last 12 months is easily a record for new car sales. For some reason there was a big surge in March 84- can’t imagine why?

      • Grizz30

        Importation of second hand vehicles started at this time. Even now more used Japanese imports are brought in than new cars.

    • sonovaMin

      Are they talking about percentage levels – not comparing numbers sold in the different years?

      • Seriously?

        No, they are talking absolute numbers and percentage changes form year to year. No per capita stats at all.

        • sonovaMin

          March 1984 was the only other year where they had a 3% growth on the previous year. I wouldn’t take anything seriously in the Herald. It has been edited.

  • InnerCityDweller

    But, but… It’s all just on the back of speculative money, created out of nowhere, on the back of poor renters who are propping up the imaginary value increase in property. Either that, or it’s John Key’s rich mates buying their 5th, 6th and 7th vehicle.

    Seriously though, that’s good news and confirms what those with two eyes and a brain are able to observe in any case. Things are looking good.

  • Forrest Ranger

    New car sales are an indicator of a strong economy that much is true. It would be interesting to drill down in to the numbers to see how much of it is driven (sorry) by the recent upsurge in immigration. I expect that is where a lot of sales are.

    judging by the last few weeks most of these new cars have been out on Auckland’s roads adding to the congestion nightmare.

    The government is spending billions on new roads but they just can’t keep up with this kind of growth. They are of course starting from a long way behind given the years of under investment – mainly under Labour of course.

  • Dog Breath

    Another symptom of an economy doing well is the number of cafés and coffee outlets that have sprung up gobbling up discretionary dollars. You don’t have discretionary money sloshing around unless the bulk of NZ’rs are doing much better. This must mean more of our poorer parts of our society have managed to join the growing middle-class and are living much more comfortable life styles, contrary to the message from the left that implies the opposite.

  • one for the road

    Not much new money going into car sales, just 0% interest and cheap financing! In other words, debt! No wonder volume of new cars are growing, be rude not to…