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Fourth record year in a row

New vehicle registrations hit an all-time new record in 2017 – the new vehicle market performed significantly well and greatly exceeded 2016’s record. 

A total of 159,871 new vehicle registrations were recorded for the stellar 2017 calendar year. Registrations for the 2017 year increased by 9.0 per cent or 13,118 units compared to 2016.

David Crawford, Chief Executive Officer of the Motor Industry Association says, “a continued robust tourism sector, which in turn drove healthy sales of rental vehicles, helped to make the month of December the strongest on record with 11,570 new vehicle registrations.”

Registrations in both the passenger and commercial sector grew compared to last year – with registrations of new passenger/SUV vehicles and commercial vehicles up by 5.8 per cent and 16.2 per cent, respectively.

Toyota remained both the market leader for the month of December, and for passenger and SUV registrations with a significant 29 per cent market share.

Toyota remained market leader for the month of December, with a 26 per cent share, this was followed by Holden and Mitsubishi, with 10 per cent and 8 per cent shares correspondingly.

Toyota was also the market leader for passenger and SUV registrations with a significant 29 per cent market share followed by Holden with 8 per cent closely followed by Mitsubishi with 7 per cent market share.

The top selling passenger and SUV models for the month were the Toyota Corolla, with 1,116 registered, of which 1,011 were rentals. This was followed by the Toyota RAV4 and the Mitsubishi ASX.

In the luxury sector passenger and SUV sector, Mercedes-Benz retained the 2017 market leader spot with 2,540 registrations, followed by Audi with 2,060 registrations and BMW with 1,954.

In the commercial sector, Ford was the market leader with 19 per cent followed by Toyota with 17 per cent. 

The Ford Ranger retained the top spot as the bestselling commercial model, four years in a row, with a 17 per cent share (597 units) followed by the Toyota Hilux with a 13 per cent share (442 units) closely followed by the Holden Colorado also with a 13 per cent share (439 units).

For the third year in a row, the Ford Ranger remained the top model overall with 9,420 registrations compared to 8,106 for the Toyota Hilux and 7,797 registrations for the Toyota Corolla.

The Ford ranger remains NZ’s top selling commercial, and overall.

Vehicle segmentation for the 2017 year reflects the changing patterns of new vehicle registrations with SUV’s and light commercials dominating the market. The small vehicle segment only breaking into the top five spots with a 12 per cent share.

The top two segments for the year were SUV medium vehicles with 17 per cent share (26,515 units) followed by the Pick Up/Chassis Cab 4×4 segment with 14 per cent (22,175 units). SUV large and SUV compact round out the top five spots with 11% each of the market.

“Distributor expectations for 2018 indicate maintenance of current levels of activity, but further steady growth in the new vehicle sector above 2017 outturn is not expected.” said Mr Crawford.

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Good news for Tesla

Fresh drone footage from on top of the Tesla Factory in Fremont, obtained from a ‘Redditor’ darksoldier360 captured a parking lot filled with brand-new Model 3s. 

 This will come as a welcome relief to Tesla and their fans, following vast shortfalls in the company’s Model 3 production figures to date.


When Elon Musk launched the Model 3, he said that he expected to be building 20,000 units, monthly, by the end of the year.

Yet, by mid-year the master plan had slid to a hope of producing 1,500 in September amid what Tesla called a ‘production bottleneck’. The extent of said bottleneck was underlined when Tesla confirmed that they were only able to produce 260 Model 3s across the whole third quarter.

A fraction of their September goal, let alone that big initial hope of 20,000 a month.

However, as of December 14, the Model 3’s production is at about 5,000 units per week, according to Taiwanese auto component maker Hota Industrial, Hota crafts the gears and axles for Tesla. 

Nonetheless, this is a great late Christmas present for Tesla but also for the roughly half a million people worldwide that have pre-ordered the EV. 

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Geneva Finance maintains growth

Geneva Finance has announced an after-tax profit of $3.2m for the six months to 30 September 2016.

This was an increase of 34 per cent on the same period in 2016, with revenue from ordinary activities up 18%.

The result represented significant growth on the back of 2016’s 45 per cent half-year increase.

It also comes at a time where the company is finalising a new acquisition that will give its subsidiary, Stellar Collections Ltd, a valuable point of difference in the debt collections market.

The company will also distribute a 1.0 cent per share dividend, payable on 15 December, 2017. This is Geneva Finance’s maiden interim dividend, which will bring total distributions since 1 Apr. 17 to 3.0 cents per share, up from 1.5 cents per share in the prior financial year.

Managing Director, David O’Connell says, “The strong profit performance reflects a lift in profitability in each of the core lending, insurance and collections operations. The profit growth was attributable to the growth in lending and collections revenues, up 12% and 31% respectively; the maintenance of interest yields; control of asset quality; and the growth in revenues from our insurance operations, where net premium written was 125% up on September 2016.”

O’Connell also announced that Stellar has acquired MFL Services Ltd, a software-based debt collection operation.

“MFL’s technology is leading-edge in debt collection, and integration of this technology into Stellar will enhance both operations and give Stellar a significant point of difference in the market by way of service and delivery of debt collection products.”

By delivering a high half-year profit and maintaining conservative debt ratios, O’Connell says the group is well positioned for further acquisitions. 

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Nissan Leaf off to a great start

Nissan Europe says the second-generation Leaf is selling much better than expected. 


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Singapore to freeze number of private cars

Singapore has announced it will expand public transport and freeze the number of private cars from next year onward.

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McLaren to design road car

“The most extreme, track-concentrated road car” Mclaren has every designed is set to become part of the British Automaker’s Ultimate Series.

The much-awaited vehicle will be revealed in the first quarter of 2018 – ahead of a second future Ultimate Series model which will be code-named BP23 and should be the world’s first Hyper-GT.

As members of the McLaren Ultimate Series, both will be produced in very limited numbers and all examples are already assigned. Ultimate Series models are positioned above McLaren’s core Super Series and have a distinct focus. Previous examples of the Series include the McLaren P1™ and McLaren P1™ GTR.

This next model to join the Ultimate Series will be the ultimate track car but will be road legal. Daily usability is being sacrificed to give the most intensive driver experience around a circuit. Its design, described as brutal, will be the purest expression yet of the company’s ‘form follows function’ philosophy.

More details, including the car’s name, will be revealed before the end of this year.

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Nissan X-TRAIL diesel not in NZ

Nissan’s X-TRAIL TL diesel variant is on sale in Australia, however it will not be available in New Zealand.

The new X-TRAIL variant is available in two grades, including the entry TS and high-spec TL.

“There is still an appetite for diesel, and offering a diesel engine in not only important for us but for Nissan X-TRAIL buyers,” said Nissan Australia Managing Director Stephen Lester.

With 130kW of power at 3,750rpm and a maximum torque of 380Nm at a low 2,000rpm, the vehicle includes strong acceleration early when you need it most. The new 2.0 litre turbo-diesel engine has 35 per cent more power and almost 20 per cent more torque than its 1.6 litre diesel predecessor.

“The X-TRAIL range has sold well since the May update, and with the base model TS diesel available since June, we are excited to have the full diesel range now on sale.

“With a strong grade walk, whether it be petrol or diesel, the X-TRAIL range offers something for everyone,” says Lester.

Now with three engine choices, the diesel engine sits alongside 2.0 litre and 2.5 litre petrol alternatives.

Nissan’s X-TRAIL range starts with a 2.0 litre petrol two-wheel drive 2.0 litre petrol engine with 6-speed manual transmission#. It has outputs of 106kW at 6,000rpm and 200Nm of torque at 4,400rpm.

The larger, and more popular, 2.5 litre engine has a higher 126kW of power and 226Nm of torque, and is fitted exclusively with the same CVT transmission as its diesel sibling.

Standard across the range, the X-TRAIL is fitted with Intelligent Emergency Braking, with the range topping Ti petrol and TL diesel also having pedestrian detection.

The TS features front, front-side and side curtain SRS airbags, and also comes with Vehicle Dynamic Control with Traction Control, Forward Collision Warning and two ISOFIX anchor points in the second row. The TL also includes Blind Spot Warning (BSW) and Lane Departure Warning (LDW).

Inside, the Nissan X-TRAIL comes with an impressive list of comfort and safety features, with the TL including a rearview camera with predictive path technology, an Intelligent Around-View® Monitor with Moving Object Detection, Sat Nav and Cruise Control – as well as black or tan leather-accented trim.

Available in seven contemporary exterior colours and three interior seat trims, Nissan X-TRAIL starts from $28,490 for the 2.0 litre petrol with 6-speed manual, while the diesel range begins at $35,990.

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Road transport emissions increasing

Greenhouse gas emissions are increasing in New Zealand and road transport has one of the highest emission rates.

According to the latest national report from the Ministry of the Environment and Statistics New Zealand, while agriculture makes up nearly half of NZ gross emissions, road transport has had one of the largest increases in emissions, with a 78 per cent increase since 1990.

The report discusses the state of the atmosphere as well as projections for the country’s climate and the factors that influence our ultraviolet light levels, carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have increased by 23 per cent since 1972.

According to secretary for the Environment, Vicky Robertson the most concerning change in New Zealand’s atmosphere is the unprecedented high levels of carbon dioxide, which are leading to increasing global temperatures and changes to our oceans, including rising sea levels and increasing ocean acidity.

“While New Zealand is not a large contributor of emissions globally, we are certainly affected locally and we need to act on what that means for us,” Ms Robertson said.

“The future impacts of climate change on our lives all depend on how fast global emissions are reduced and the extent to which our communities can adapt to change.

“Encouragingly, the report shows international efforts have been successful in phasing out the use of ozone-depleting substances. This has led to gradual recovery of the ozone hole.”

Meanwhile, global gross greenhouse gas emissions have risen by 51 per cent from 1990 to 2013 and gross greenhouse gas emissions have risen 24 per cent from 1990 to 2015.

New Zealand has experienced a 1°C temperature increase since 1909 and the country’s glaciers have decreased by a quarter of their volume since 1977.
Sea levels have risen 14–22cm at four main New Zealand ports since 1916
The global production of ozone-depleting substances has dropped 98 per cent from 1986 to 2015.

“We have enough data on measures like annual average temperature to confidently say New Zealand’s climate is warming. That is showing up, for example, in the significant loss of our glacier volume,” said government statistician Liz MacPherson.

“New Zealand has naturally variable weather, making trends in some areas difficult to determine. We need longer-term data to establish whether changes are persisting.”

“National and international data collections on the atmosphere and climate are increasingly comprehensive but there are still some things we don’t know at this time, in particular the full impact of climate change on our biodiversity, cultural values and the economy,” MacPherson said.

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Jeep Compass wins safety pick

Jeep Compass TX

The Jeep Compass has earned a 2017 Top Safety Pick rating from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS).

The compact SUV achieves the highest possible IIHS rating in its category. 

“The all-new Jeep Compass benefits from high-strength steel content that exceeds 65 percent,” says Mike Manley, Head of Jeep Brand – FCA Global. “This not only contributes to crashworthiness, it speaks to a level of engineering sophistication that makes this vehicle the most capable small-SUV ever”.

The 2017 Jeep Compass scored “good” ratings in tests that simulate:

· A side impact with a large SUV or pickup truck;

· A moderate-offset frontal impact;

· A small-offset frontal impact;

· Roof-deformation consistent with a rollover; and

· A rear collision capable of inducing whiplash

Advanced AEB technology is a hallmark of the safety strategy embraced by FCA US LLC. Accordingly, the all-new Jeep Compass benefits from sensor-fusion technology in its available driver-assist feature, Full-speed Forward Collision Warning-Plus.


The Jeep Compass arrives in New Zealand early in 2018, when full local specifications and pricing will be announced.

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MotorSport NZ celebration

MotorSport New Zealand is celebrating its 70 year anniversary this October. 


While an event is planned to mark the 75 year anniversary, president of MotorSport NZ, Wayne Christie says that the 70 year mark is still very significant.

“For many of us, what started out as a fun way to enjoy some high speed thrills in our car in a safe and responsible way, has evolved into an activity that has given a shared enjoyment in a job well done, friendships for life and, in many cases, a sense of commitment to leaving the sport in good shape for future generations to ensure they can also participate in competitive motor sports the length and breadth of New Zealand,” he says. 

The association was founded on October 18, 1947 at a meeting in Wellington and was originally known as The Association of New Zealand Car Clubs. Initially there were seven regional car clubs represented.

Since then, the society has changed its name and has a membership of 100 car clubs. It also focusses on all aspects of competitive circuit racing and rallying and national and club levels. 

“Consider the thousands upon thousands of hours devoted by competitors, crews, event organisers, marshals, officials, photographers and reporters – the great majority of them volunteers – across those 70 years to allow participation in and enjoyment of motorsport as a leisure and sporting activity,” says Christie. 


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NZ nervous drivers

More than a third of New Zealanders feel unsafe while driving and most don’t have confidence in the ability of other motorists.

This is according to an AA Driving School survey which found that within seven days of driving 85 per cent of survey respondents witnessed other motorists exceeding the speed limit, 64 per cent saw motorists drift out of a lane or park inconsiderately and 63 per cent witnessed someone run a red light.

AA Driving School General Manager Roger Venn says this perception being reported by New Zealand motorists points to an incredible level of potentially lazy and dangerous driving taking place on our roads.

“One of the main reasons for the lack of confidence in other’s abilities is people claiming to see plenty of motorists ignoring basic road rules and road courtesies.

“If that’s the case, there is a real need for better education and enforcement of some of these driving basics,” he says.

Almost 3,000 AA Members responded to a survey on whether New Zealanders thought of themselves as considerate drivers and how the purpose of their driving affected their behaviour.

It found that New Zealand motorists were more likely to point the finger at others than recognise any of their own driving slip-ups.

“There’s a definite disconnect between the number of people driving badly and those taking ownership for it,” he says.

“If we were all driving as well as we think we are then confidence levels on the road would be a lot higher.”

AA Members rated feeling safe on the road and being aware of other road users as the two most important factors when driving, ahead of getting to a destination on time or being courteous to other road users.

“The survey also shows we need to do a lot more work when it comes to being courteous on the road,” says Mr Venn.

“We found that of the courtesies you can show while driving, motorists appreciate being thanked with a wave or similar gesture the most. The problem is not enough of us are doing it, or seeing it.”

Mr Venn says a large part of improving driving on the road, is to change the way we think about it.

“Driving is like any other skill, you need to put in the time and refresh your knowledge to ensure you’re not letting bad habits stick.

“We know experienced drivers struggle to consistently indicate, check blind spots, do their mirror checks, tailgate and avoid distraction from their phones – these are all bad habits that have crept into people’s driving routines.”

Mr Venn says the only way to recognise your own bad habits is to have someone hold up a mirror and tell you.

“Often that ends up being young people doing professional lessons, who then go home to mum and dad and call them out on the things they’re doing wrong.

“A simulated on road test, which replicates a driving test, or other types of professional driver training can also help motorists recognise and then work on the weaknesses in their skillset.”

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