EVOLUTION OF THE NZ AUTO MARKET

ACA Research, our partner in the AAAA Aftermarket Dashboard, says that while we spend a lot of our time focusing on Australia, the New Zealand passenger vehicle market has also evolved significantly over the past 10 years

The NZ Transport Agency is very good at publishing registration and car parc data. We’ve taken a look at their 2009 and 2019 records, drawing out three key trends impacting the NZ market over this period.
While we have kept our analysis at a fairly high level, this is an incredibly rich data source. It contains detailed vehicle information (including 11 digit VIN), as well as location and usage (private vs commercial) that will be relevant to manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, or service providers.

The shift away from ‘Australian-made’
In line with many of the global automotive trends, NZ auto buyers in 2019 have different needs and wants to those of 2009, and these are clearly reflected in their choices.
While some of these changes were driven by NZ consumers, some were also forced on them, such as the end of passenger vehicle manufacturing in Australia. In 2009, Australia was the third most common source of vehicles for NZ, so this absence left a large gap to be filled.
Looking at where the replacements came from, we can see the impact of the increasing globalisation of automotive manufacturing. The three largest import regions (Japan, South Korea, and Germany) still account for two-thirds of the market, but the biggest beneficiaries were the relatively smaller markets of Thailand (as well as other Southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia, Vietnam, and Malaysia), the UK and the US.

The SUV migration
The past ten years have also seen a large shift in the types of vehicle being bought.
NZ is on board with the global trend to SUVs, at the expense of full-size sedans, and (to a lesser extent) hatchbacks.
Station wagons/SUVs now make up almost two in three vehicles purchased, with most of the rest being small cars.

The most popular models reflect this change, with eight new entrants onto 2019’s top 10 vehicles list, all of which are SUVs.
In fact, the only survivors from 2009 are two small cars, the Toyota Corolla (still the most popular car in NZ) and the Suzuki Swift.
On the other side, sedans such as the Commodore, Falcon, and Mazda 6 have disappeared entirely from the top 10 (or even the market).

Moving away from ICE
Finally, we can also see in the data that vehicles with alternative power trains (hybrid or pure electric) are making headway in NZ.
There is still a long way to go before they begin truly challenging the dominance of petrol and diesel vehicles, but non-ICE vehicles made up almost one in ten new passenger vehicles in 2019.
Coming from a starting point of being virtually non-existent in 2009, this trend can be expected to accelerate as more models become available, and prices fall more in line with their ICE counterparts.

As mentioned above, the NZ Transport Agency provides free access to monthly snapshots of vehicle registration data, as well as a range of other statistics that will be relevant to business involved in producing or delivering products or services in the NZ market.
If you need help analysing or interpreting the data, remember too that AAAA members can get support in this area as part of the market intelligence service – contact advocacy@aaaa.com.au to find out more.

This column was prepared for AAA Magazine by ACA Research, our partners in the AAAA Aftermarket Dashboard which is delivered to AAAA members each quarter.

For more information, visit www.acaresearch.com.au or contact Ben Selwyn on bselwyn@acaresearch.com.au