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Germany overtakes Norway

Germany overtakes Norway as Europe’s top market for electric vehicles (EVs).

Sales of EVs increased by 70 per cent in Germany to 17,574 cars in the first quarter, nudging ahead of Norway for the first time, according to data from European industry association ACEA. The figure includes full-electric cars and plug-in hybrids.

VW, Daimler and BMW are retooling their assembly lines in response to stricter European regulations on combustion engines and the fallout from the 2015 VW emissions-cheating scandal.

While consumers have turned away from diesel — especially in Germany — automakers are depending on customers to embrace electrified powertrains if they are to recover the massive investments they are making.

Across Europe, sales of EVs advanced 41 per cent, with full-electric cars up 35 per cent and plug-in hybrids up 47 per cent, while diesel in the EU dropped 17 per cent.

Once rare in Germany, Teslas have become increasingly common on the streets of cities such as Munich, alongside other fully-electric models like BMW’s i3 and the Nissan Leaf, according to Automotive News.

While the Germans have an advantage in Europe, their next challenge as the market for EVs expands will be to prove to consumers in the U.S. and China that their products are superior. Elon Musk’s recent troubles with Model 3 production issues and quality reviews, may have opened a door.

“Tesla’s golden age is nearing its end and it will become a product among many,” said Juergen Pieper, a Frankfurt-based analyst with Bankhaus Metzler to Automotive News. “As the consumer pool for electric cars grows, tolerance over quality issues may be lower too as it’s less about the early adopters who went for Teslas based on novelty.”

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Used car sales three-year low

Used car imports at Ports of Auckland

April was the worst month since February 2015 for registrations of used imported cars in New Zealand.

There were 10,893 units sold last month to bring the year-to-date total to 48,501. This was down by seven per cent compared to the same time last year. There were 12,507 registrations in last April to take 2017’s total to 52,174.

Sales across many of the country’s regions dropped in April when compared to the same month of last year. These were led by Whangarei with a 30.9 per cent decrease to 226 units. New Plymouth was down by 24.2 per cent to 150 while Auckland dropped by 16.1 per cent to 5,148.

On the flipside, registrations in Thames climbed by 30.1 per cent to 108 last month. They rose by 10.8 per cent in Wanganui to 72 and nine per cent in Gisborne to 73 units.

The top five marques in April for registrations of used imported passenger vehicles were Toyota on 2,644, Nissan with 1,970, Mazda on 1,760, Honda with 1,053 and Subaru on 623.

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Commercials drop in sales

Toyota retained the top spot in the used commercial vehicle sector

There were 828 used imported commercial vehicles sold last month, an 8.8 per cent decrease compared to April 2017, when 908 vehicles were registered.

Year to date the total has dropped by 7.5 per cent or 308 registrations, compared to the first four months of 2017.

 Toyota retained the top spot in the used commercial vehicle sector with a market share of 47 per cent with 389 registrations. This was followed by Nissan and Isuzu, who had a market share of 21.1 per cent – 174 registrations, and 6.5 per cent and 54 registrations respectively.

Most main regions recorded losses during April compared with the same month last year. Auckland led the way with a 13.5 per cent or 59 units decrease, followed by Christchurch and Wellington who showed falls of 12.8 per cent and 9.5 per cent.

Dunedin was one of the exceptions, with sales increasing by 20.7 per cent compared to April 2017. 

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SUVs provide momentum

The sales of Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) continued to provide strong momentum to Australia’s new car market last month, with total April sales down slightly on last year but year-to-date sales running 3.3 per cent ahead of 2017.

Tony Weber, chief executive of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries.

Total industry sales for April were 82,930, which is 0.2 per cent down on the same month last year, according to data released today by the industry’s official statistical service VFACTS.

However, the year-to-date total across the industry of 374,468 sales is viewed as a strong return, bolstered by the continued build in the SUV and light commercial (LC) vehicle categories.

SUVs accounted for 43.6 per cent of the April market, passenger cars for 33.2 per cent and light commercial vehicles 19.4 per cent.

Among the segments, SUVs were the stand out performers. Comparing last month with April 2017, the sale of small SUVs rose 33.3 per cent, medium SUVs climbed 12.8 per cent, large SUVs lifted 3.7 per cent and upper large SUVs surged 20.6 per cent.

SUV sales to private and business customers showed strong April gains, up 15.3 per cent and 17.5 per cent respectively. Private light commercial sales dipped by 13.6 per cent, while light commercial business sales fell 3.6 per cent during April

Among the passenger car segments, micro-cars had another good month with a sales gain of 8.6 per cent.

The steady performance of the national April market came despite NSW, historically Australia’s largest state for sales, showing a fall in monthly volume of 5.5 per cent. However, four states and territories produced gains with Western Australia climbing 7.3 per cent, South Australia up by 3.5 per cent, Victoria by 2.1 per cent and Queensland by 1.9 per cent.

The Chief Executive of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, Tony Weber, said that although April was the first month of 2018 in which the industry had not bettered its results of last year, the industry was tracking strongly.

“There’s good reason to be confident about how sales nationally are tracking given we are a third of the way through the calendar year,” Mr Weber said.

“The market dynamic has changed with the growth of SUVs but brands have adapted quickly to that change and the new products coming into those growth segments clearly have strong consumer appeal.”

The Toyota Hilux light commercial was the top-seller during April with 3,596 sales, followed by the Toyota Corolla with 2,979, then the Ford Ranger (2,796), Mazda3 (2,261) and the Toyota LandCruiser (2,018).

Toyota was the April market leader with a 20.1 per cent share, followed by Mazda (9.3 per cent), Hyundai (8.6%), Mitsubishi (6.6%) and Ford (5.8%).

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VW has record-breaking month

The Volkswagen Group has come roaring back from the emission-fixing scandal with the company announcing a record delivery month in March.

The Volkswagen Group recorded its best-ever delivery result for a single month in March. The Group also finished the first quarter with an all-time record.

At 1.04 million, deliveries by the Volkswagen Group in March were 5.3 per cent higher than March 2016. Over 2.6 million vehicles were handed over to customers in the first quarter of the year (up 7.4 per cent).

“The first-quarter results confirm the attractiveness of our products. However, this good performance does not mean we can let up in our efforts; instead, we must continue to strengthen customers’ trust in our brands and products in the second quarter as well”, Fred Kappler, Head of Group Sales at Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft, said.

European sales were up 4.1 per cent while North American sales increased 3.4 percent. Growth continued at a solid clip in the Asia-Pacific region where 1,090,200 vehicles were delivered in the first quarter. This represented a 12 percent increase year over year.

Volkswagen remained the group’s most popular brand, accounting for more than 1.5 million of the first quarter deliveries. Audi is the second most popular, with 463,800 deliveries.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

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Electronic card spending up 1.8%

Total card spending across all industries was up 1.8 per cent in the March 2018 quarter when adjusted for seasonal effects, Stats NZ said.

Spending rose across all six of the retail industries in the March quarter. The largest rises came from the consumables (grocery and liquor retailing) industry, up $125 million (2.2 percent) and the hospitality industry, up $87 million (2.9 percent).

“The rise in retail card spending in the March quarter was driven by an increase in grocery and liquor spending,” retail manager Sue Chapman said. “

This was the largest increase in grocery and liquor retailing since December 2010 and coincided with a record increase in spending in the March month.

The motor vehicle industry dropped by 1.8 per cent or $3.2 million last month compared with February 2018. However, the vehicle industry in the March 2018 quarter was up by $7.5 million or 1.5 per cent compared with the December 2017 quarter.

 

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Tesla tops electric chart

The Tesla Model S

Tesla continues to lead sales of pure electric vehicles (EVs), according to statistics for the first quarter of 2018. The Model S notched up 44 registrations and the Model X came third with 37 with Hyundai’s Ioniq sandwiched between them on 39.

By comparison, in the first three months of 2017 Model S sales came in at 32 and 10 Model Xs were registered.

During the whole of last year, the Models S and Model X racked up 128 and 116 sales respectively, according to Motor Industry Association statistics. These figures made Tesla New Zealand’s top-selling brand in the pure EV class in which 546 units were registered overall.

Sales of cars other than those powered by petrol or diesel are still led by plug-in hybrids. They accounted for the bulk of 797 registrations in the “other” category for the first quarter of 2017.

Toyota dominates this segment with three of its hybrids – the Corolla with 195 sales, the Camry on 103 and the Prius C with 88 – commanding a market share of 57 per cent.

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Market for new vehicles remains strong

David Crawford, Chief Executive Officer of the Motor Industry Association says “March new vehicle registrations of 14,028 vehicles were up 1 per cent (159 units) on March 2017 reflecting a stable market. Year to date the market is up 2 per cent (916 units) compared to the first three months of 2017.”

Registrations of 9,050 passenger and SUV vehicles for the month of March were down 2 per cent (180 units) on March 2017. However, registrations of 4,978 commercial vehicles continues to grow strongly being up 7 per cent (339 units) on March 2017.”

Toyota remains the overall market leader with 17% market share (2,421 units), followed by Ford with 11% (1,551 units) and Mitsubishi with 8% market share (1,104 units).

Toyota was also the market leader for passenger and SUV registrations with 13 per cent market share (1,196 units) followed by Mazda with 9 per cent (858 units) and Mitsubishi with 8 per cent market share (722 units).

In the commercial sector, Toyota remained the market leader with 25 per cent market share (1,225 units) followed by Ford with 21 per cent (1,047 units) and Holden with 9 per cent market share (427 units).

The top four selling models for the month of March were all light commercial vehicles. The Toyota Hilux was back at the top of the bestselling vehicle model table with 915 units. This was closely followed by the Ford Ranger with 912 units and the Holden Colorado with 427 units.

The SUV medium segment regained the top segment for the month of March with 18 per cent market share. This was followed by the Pick Up/Chassis Cab 4×4 segment also with 16 per cent of the market, and the SUV compact with 13 per cent market share.

“The market for new vehicles is mature and remains strong, said Mr Crawford

“The economic factors of the past two years are still largely present with strong net immigration, affordable prices and strong economy.” 

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Total electronic card spending flat

Total card spending across all industries was relatively flat (up 0.1 per cent) in February 2018, when adjusted for seasonal effects, Stats NZ said on Friday.

Retail card spending dipped 0.3 percent in February, after five consecutive monthly increases. 

“February’s decline was led by a 0.5 percent fall in spending on consumables, which includes grocery and liquor retailing,” retail manager Sue Chapman said. 

“This is the first decrease in the consumables group since May 2017 and could be the effect of people hunkering down during the two ex-tropical cyclones that hit this month.” 

The motor vehicle industry was the only industry with relatively good growth, with a 2.3 per cent or $3.9 million increase compared with January 2018.

Spending was quiet across the rest of the give retail industries. There was little or no change in durables (includes hardware, furniture, and appliances), hospitality (accommodation, bars, cafes, restaurants, and takeaways), apparel (clothing and footwear), and fuel. 

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New vehicle registrations slightly down

February 2018’s new vehicle registrations are slightly down on February 2017, according to the Motor Industry Association’s (MIA) latest statistics.

David Crawford, chief executive officer of the MIA

David Crawford, Chief Executive Officer of the MIA says “February new vehicle registrations of 11,531 vehicles were down 2 per cent (254 units) on February 2017 reflecting a mature and stable market. Year to date the market is up 3 per cent (751 units) compared to the first two months of 2017.”

Registrations of 7,415 passenger and SUV vehicles for the month of February were down 8 per cent (637 units) on February 2017. However, registrations of 4,116 commercial vehicles continues to grow strongly being up 10 per cent on February 2017.”

Toyota remains the overall market leader with 17 per cent market share (1,959 units), followed by Ford with 10 per cent (1,183 units) and Holden with 8 per cent market share (968 units).

Toyota was also the market leader for passenger and SUV registrations with 14 per cent market share (1013 units) followed by Mazda with 10 per cent (773 units) and Holden with 8 per cent market share (602 units).

In the commercial sector, Toyota regained the market lead with 23 per cent market share (946 units) followed by Ford with 19 per cent (788 units) and Nissan with 9 per cent  market share (384 units).

The top four selling models for the month of February were all light commercial vehicles. The Ford Ranger was back at the top of the bestselling vehicle model table with 735 units. This was followed by the Toyota Hilux with 703 units and the Nissan Navara with 384 units.

With the record number of commercial vehicles sold during the month of February it came as no surprise to see the Pickup/Chassis Cab 4×4 segment as the top segment with 17 per cent of the market for the month. The SUV medium segment accounted for 16% of the market, followed by the SUV compact with 12 per cent market share.

“While the market for new vehicles remains strong, some vehicle segments were constrained by low stocks levels, which will continue into the foreseeable future.” said Mr Crawford.

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Unemployment falls to a nine-year low

December Quarter 

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 4.5 per cent in the December 2017 quarter, down from 4.6 percent last quarter, Stats NZ said today.

“This quarter’s unemployment rate is the lowest since the December 2008 quarter, when it was 4.4 percent,” labour market and household statistics senior manager Jason Attewell said.

“However, the underutilisation rate was just over 12 percent –reflecting about 340,000 New Zealanders with potential to work more. This measure is just as important as the unemployment rate.”

Underutilisation is a measure of the potential labour supply and unmet need for work.

The unemployment rate for the December 2017 quarter remains considerably above New Zealand’s lowest unemployment rate, which was 3.3 percent, recorded a decade ago in the December 2007 quarter, immediately before the global financial crisis.

Unemployment rate, seasonally adjusted, December 2008 to December 2017. Source: Stats NZ

December yearly

Annually, employment increased 3.7 percent, with men and women contributing almost equally to the increase. Nearly one-quarter of employment growth came from 25–29-year-olds, while just over one-fifth came from the 30–34-year-old age group. 

In the year to the December 2017 quarter, unadjusted employment (as measured by the HLFS) increased across a number of industries. The key contributor was the professional, scientific, technical, administrative, and support services industry – up 25,900 (8.5 percent). 

Approximately one-third of the increase in employment for the professional, scientific, technical, administrative, and support services industry occurred in Wellington.

Most of this growth was seen in the sub-industries: architectural, engineering, and technical services (up 4,600); and building, cleaning, pest control, and gardening services (up 1,700).

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