New Zealand Car Stats 2018 Roundup

Posted on 30th Jan 2019 by CarTakeBack Posted in: Latest News

7 things we learned about New Zealand drivers in 2018

As 2018 fades into the distance and we head into 2019, motoring enthusiasts can look back on how the New Zealand motoring industry and New Zealand drivers have changed (or stayed the same) over the last 12 months.

Welcome to our 2018 New Zealand car stats roundup, where we will be taking a look at 7 things that we have learned about the New Zealand motoring industry, and New Zealanders as drivers. Enjoy!

1.    New Zealanders are buying more new cars

Car driving next to water and snow topped mountains

Predictions of another global recession impacting the New Zealand economy and consumer confidence over the next few years clearly haven’t dampened our keenness for new cars. In 2018, there were an impressive 161,519 new cars registered, which is 1,648 more units than 2017.

Car manufacturers with a reputation of practicality and economy have fared particularly well, with Toyota, Mazda, Hyundai, Honda and Kia enjoying year-on-year increases in registrations. More details on the most popular car manufacturers in New Zealand last year can be found at the bottom of this article.

2.    New Zealand continues to be an electric motoring leader

Electric car plugged in charging

Approximately 80% of New Zealand’s electricity is generated by renewable sources, so it’s no surprise that we are also one of the leading nations when it comes to growth in popularity of the electric car.

Electric vehicle registrations have seen a massive jump in popularity over the last few years. This upward trend is showing no signs of stopping, with 5,589 electric vehicles being registered in 2018, up a massive 51% from the 3,691 registered in 2017. This growth is less than the 143% increase in electric vehicle registrations between 2016 and 2017, but in real terms, the growth is just as impressive.

3.    Toyota remains New Zealand’s favourite car manufacturer

Red car on a road which goes in between green fields

Those familiar with the New Zealand car industry will not be surprised to hear that Toyota was once again the most popular car manufacturer in 2018. New Zealand’s biggest car brand saw its dominance continue with a market share of nearly 20%, and new car registration figures of approximately 21,000.

To put Toyota’s dominance of the New Zealand motoring industry into perspective, the second most popular manufacturer last year was Mazda, with 10,170 registrations – less than half of what Toyota saw.

4.    Ford has a difficult year with cars

Ford is a popular car manufacturer in New Zealand, with 5,314 new registrations in 2018. While Ford does not enjoy the popularity of Toyota and others, it is still a major name in motoring. Despite this, Ford has seen a troubling 18% decrease in car registrations between 2017 and 2018.

It should be noted, these stats are looking at cars and SUV sales, and don’t include the immensely popular Ford Ranger pick-up trucks, which saw 9,900 new registrations in 2018, more than all Ford cars and SUVs combined.

5.    Motorcycles are more popular (slightly)

Photo of a motorcycle driving down a road

It’s not just four wheels that interest us or the New Zealand motoring public! Motorcycle registrations saw a very slight increase of 50 units in 2018, up to 8,565 last year, compared with 8501 in 2017. While this isn’t a ground-breaking change, it nonetheless shows that the country’s enthusiasm for motorcycles is continuing strong.

The most popular motorcycle manufacturer in New Zealand in 2018 was Yamaha, with a 12.5% market share. This is followed closely by Suzuki, who are just behind with 12.3%.

6.    Premium German saloons aren’t as popular

Black saloon car

Premium German saloons appear to be out of favour currently in New Zealand, with a general decline in the number of new units registered last year. BMW have seen registrations decline by 15.6%, while Mercedes and Audi have seen registrations dip by 11.4% and 12.1% respectively.

While uncertain economic times and consumer confidence questions don’t seem to be impacting the number of new cars New Zealanders are buying, perhaps those who are buying are choosing more affordable, smaller models. Can the German saloon giants bounce back in 2019?

New Zealand is not the only country to have fallen out of love with new premium German saloons in 2018, a similar drop in registrations was seen in the Republic of Ireland.

7.    Italian supercar giants are growing in popularity

Red sports car on a race track

If there’s one area where New Zealand consumer confidence certainly seems strong, it is at the luxury end of the scale. It seems those fortunate enough to be in market for stunning Italian supercars have put their money where their mouths are.

Registrations of new Ferraris are up a massive 88% since 2017, with models such as the 2018 Ferrari California and the 2018 Ferrari 488 making headlines. Similarly, Lamborghini have seen a big boost of 62% in new car registrations.

Maserati weren’t quite as fortunate, with a 30% decrease in registrations year-on-year.

In real terms, the numbers being purchased are relatively low, with 45 new Ferraris and 26 new Lamborghinis registered in 2018. With new Italian supercar models costing six figure sums, however, this is still an impressive increase.

The most popular car manufacturers in New Zealand (2018)

car driving down a winding road

Here are the most popular car and SUV manufacturers in New Zealand last year, in terms of new car registrations. Some might surprise you; others, probably not!

  1. Toyota: 21,000 units (approx.)
  2. Mazda: 10,000 units (approx.)
  3. Holden: 8,300 units (approx.)
  4. Mitsubishi: 7,600 units (approx.)
  5. Hyundai: 7,300 units (approx.)
  6. Kia: 6,800 units (approx.)
  7. Suzuki: 6,400 units (approx.)
  8. Ford: 5,300 units (approx.)
  9. Honda: 5,300 units (approx.)
  10. Nissan: 4,600 units (approx.)

The most popular car models in New Zealand (2018)

No surprises in seeing Toyota models topping this list, but what were the other most popular car models registered last year?

  1. Toyota Corolla: 7,300 units (approx.)
  2. Toyota RAV4: 4,900 unites (approx.)
  3. Mazda CX-5: 3,700 units (approx.)
  4. Kia Sportage: 3,200 units (approx.)
  5. Suzuki Swift: 3,000 units (approx.)
  6. Toyota Highlander: 2,700 units (approx.)
  7. Mitsubishi ASX: 2,400 units (approx.)
  8. Mitsubishi Outlander: 2,400 units (approx.)
  9. Nissan Qashqai: 2,100 units (approx.)
  10. Mazda 3: 2,100 units (approx.)

Interesting Fact: The Toyota Corolla had more registrations in 2018 than all Mercedes-Benz, Audi, BMW and Skoda models combined!


Sources: Model sales stats courtesy of Electric vehicle stats courtesy of New Zealand Ministry of Transport. Total car sales stats courtesy of New Zealand Herald. Other stats from Driven.

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