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New Zealand March 2021: Kia (+197.7%), Mitsubishi (+151.2%) stand out in market rallying back up 87.6%

The Kia Stonic makes its first appearance in the NZ Top 10. Picture autocar.co.nz

In March, new vehicle sales in New Zealand soar 87.6% on weak, Covid-19 impacted year-ago volumes to 15.498 units, lifting the year-to-date tally up 27.9% to 41.864. Note March 2021 is also up 17% on March 2019 volumes, indicating a very strong recovery. Passenger Cars are up 35% year-on-year to 2.379 units and 15.3% share vs. 21.3% a year ago, SUVs surge 114% t o 7.690 and 49.6% share vs. 43.5% in March 2020 and Light Commercials gain 93.4% to 4.730 and 30.5% vs. 29.6% a year ago. Year-to-date, Passenger Cars edge up 0.4% to 6.557 and 15.7 % share vs. 20% over the same period in 2020, SUVs are up 38.6% to 21.829 and 52.1% share vs. 48.1% and Light Commercials up 30.9% to 11.858 and 28.3% share vs. 27.7% in 2020.

Toyota (+55.2%) keeps the lead of the brands ranking but advances a lot slower than the market, signing the smallest gain in the Top 15 and resulting in a weak 15.2% share. In contrast, the next four brands outpace the market, with Kia (+197.7%) and Mitsubishi (+151.2%) the most dynamic followed by Ford (+107.1%) and Mazda (+106.6%). Subaru (+168.2%), Volkswagen (+151.9%) and Hyundai (+112.7%) also shine in the remainder of the Top 10 just as Suzuki (+80.6%) and Nissan (+61.7%) are weaker. Further down, LDV (+796.8%), MG (+357.7%), GWM (+345.5%), BMW (+246.8%) and Tesla (+218.8%) stand out.

We have a rare change of leadership in the NZ model charts: the Toyota Hilux (+134.3%) takes advantage of its facelift to land in first place both in March and year-to-date, toppling the Ford Ranger (+86.5%) while the Mitsubishi Triton (+99.1%) closes a podium 100% pickup. The Mitsubishi Outlander is the best-selling SUV in the country for the 2nd month running and YTD, ranking #4 each time. The Nissan Navara (+87.9%) makes it 4 pickups in the Top 5, with the Kia Sportage (+113.6%) and Mazda CX-5 (+135.4%) in tow. The Toyota RAV4 (+2.5%) is down to a paltry 8th place. We have a few newcomers in the NZ Top 20 : the Kia Stonic appears at #13 in March, the MG ZS ranks #20 in February and #16 in March and the Ford Puma ends February at #17.

Previous post: New Zealand January 2021: Mitsubishi, Kia help drive positive market (+6.4%)

One year ago: New Zealand March 2020: Holden at highest in over 2 years in market down -37.2%

Full February and March 2021 Top 72 All-brands and Top 20 models below.

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