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Imported car sales records smashed

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New and used imported cars were sold at a record rate of 137 an hour last year*.

Today, there are more vehicles on New Zealand roads than ever before.

In 2015, new and used car import sales reached a new high of 286,722 vehicles – resulting in a net four percent growth within the national passenger fleet.

MTA chief executive Warwick Quinn said it’s good news for car dealers and good news for the new owners. “The new and late model cars all come with fewer emissions and more safety and driver assistance features. Accidents involving these modern cars are less likely to result in serious injury and more crashes will be avoided.”

However, he said it was a worry that New Zealanders were still reluctant to scrap older cars that did not have the same modern features.

“Our national fleet is ancient by international standards. The average age of a car is now 14 years old and getting older. Today, 20 percent of passenger vehicles are around 20 years old. Those made in 1996 are the most common year group although those from 2005 are catching up fast. This reflects the change in frontal impact standards and the new exhaust emissions standard. “

Two thirds of the 134,242 new vehicles sold last year were bought by businesses, rental companies and government. The 152,480 used imports were largely sold to the private buyer market.

The number of new and used imported car sales has been growing since 2009.

“However the growth is not consistent around the country. Last year, for example, Rotorua and Wairarapa dealers saw a 14 percent increase in sales whereas in North Otago, sales dropped by seven percent.”

In 2015 the top five models sold in the combined new and used import market were: all light or small class vehicles. Toyota Corolla (including the various Japan domestic market names) was number one with 12,264 registrations, followed by Suzuki Swift 9,451, Mazda3/Axela 9338, Mazda2/Demio 7530, and Honda Jazz/Fit in fifth place with 7418. The top selling new model – the Ford Ranger, only made it into sixth place with 6832, just outselling Nissan Tiida with 6609.

*Working hours equals 8 hours, 5 days per week, 52 weeks per year.