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Big flip in new vehicle sales numbers to start the New Year

Judging by the recent release of the January 2024 new vehicle sales stats, it looks very much like the New Vehicle Distributors of Fully Electric Vehicles (BEV) along with Plug-in hybrids (PHEV) will need to find ways for their vehicles to stand on their own feet moving forward.
 |  Jack Biddle  | 

With the dollar driven Clean Car Discount now gone, the sales of petrol and diesel vehicles surged to a staggering 96.2% of the January figures.

According to the sales figures released by the Motor Industry Association (MIA), BEV only managed to secure a rather sad looking 2% market share which equated to just 274 registrations. The top three models were the BYD SEAL (31 units, 12.7% share), followed by Tesla Model Y (25 units, 10.2% share) and the Toyota BZ4X (23 units, 9.4% share).

The PHEV range didn’t do much better either gaining a paltry 1.6% market share with their 202 registrations. The top three models were the rather exclusive Porsche Cayenne (24 units, 11.9% share), followed by the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross (18 units, 8.9% share) and the Volkswagen Touareg (14 units, 6.9% share).

Not surprising then to see the big winners for the first calendar month of 2024, as far as the electrified passenger vehicle fleet went, being the basic Non-Plug in hybrid.

The top three models for January were the Toyota RAV4 (568 units, 24.0% share), followed by Toyota Highlander (297 units, 12.6% share) and the Toyota Corolla Cross (242 units, 10.2% share).

In the straight Petrol/Diesel (ICE) registrations, the top three models were the Mitsubishi ASX (438 units, 10% share), followed by the Mitsubishi Outlander (421 units, 10% share) and the Kia Seltos (310 units, 7% share).

Light Commercial Vehicles registrations of 3,793 were also very strong as buyers surged back to the diesel fuelled ute market with no “dirty diesel” fee to pay. Without doubt, there were orders sitting waiting to be filled once the fee was removed so it was no real surprise to see such a strong month for utes.   

Ford retained its dominance in this space with a 41.2% market share (1,563 units) followed by Toyota with 25.1% (953 units) and Mitsubishi third with 8.7% market share (330 units).

The top three models were the Ford Ranger (1,470 units), followed by the Toyota Hilux (657 units), and Mitsubishi Triton (330 units).

MIA Chief Executive Aimee Wiley says that the January result of 12,649 units is comparable to the prior year, coming in 1.3% higher than January 2023 (12,481 units) but 6.2% lower than January 2022 (13,479 units).

So it’s back to the board room and whiteboards for the distributors of the BEV and PHEV fleet to come up with new strategies that will entice potential buyers back over to their side of the fence. Clearly consumers are having second thoughts about their products now that the Clean Car Discount is no longer on the table.

Not helping their cause is the upcoming road-user chargers for both the BEV and PHEV vehicle owners which kicks off April 1. Fully electric vehicle owners will be paying $76 per 1000km while the Plug-in Hybrid owners will pay $53 per 1000km. Non-plug in hybrids will not be required to pay any further costs and will continue to pay the fuel tax already built into pump prices.

One way to try and win potential buyers back is by offering substantial discounts which would also help reduce what may potentially become a stockpile of unsold product sitting in storage around the country.

The downside of that of course is upsetting existing customers who could potentially have paid thousands of dollars more for their vehicles initially and would suffer an overnight drop in the true value of their vehicles.   

Simeon Brown the Minister of Transport, can still beat a drum that says the new Government maintains a goal to see a reduction in vehicle tail pipe emissions by retaining the Clean Car Standard.

The Clean Car Standard aims to encourage a greater supply of low and no emission vehicle imports to New Zealand by charging importers for vehicles with high CO2 emissions and giving credits for vehicles with low CO2 emissions. It will be very interesting to watch the new vehicle sales in the coming months to see if the current trend continues or the BEV and PHEV sales can bounce back to similar numbers when the Clean Car Discount was in place.

The outcomes of those boardroom meetings may well hold the key.