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If the luxury car market is any indicator of wealth, either more Kiwis are now able to afford expensive cars, or the already-rich are buying another Mercedes-Benz, BMW or Audi for their garage.

New Zealand's luxury car market

Those with money to burn are picking up McLaren, Maserati and Aston Martins.

Radiator has put aside all car-envy to find out what’s hot in the luxury car market, which brands sold record numbers last year, and who is steaming ahead in the first six months of 2018.

One in every 10 new cars bought in New Zealand today was made by one of the dozen or so recognised luxury brands available here. Around two-thirds were either an Audi, Mercedes -Benz, or BMW. These top German brands also make up the bulk (80 percent) of global luxury car sales. The new C class Mercedes-Benz has caught the attention of buyers and added some spice to its sales figures.

Luxury brands have taken a steady 9.5 or 9.6 percent of the new car market since 2012. Sales for this year have cracked 10 percent of the market share. In 2017 10,441 luxury brand cars were sold. By the end of June 2018, the number was already 5,287.

Internationally, there are forecasts for the growth of the luxury car market to slow, but with China adding well over a hundred thousand or so millionaires to its rich list each year, don’t expect any dramatic drops in demand.

The biggest growth in sales overseas last year happened at the very top of the market among the likes of Lamborghini, Ferrari and Rolls-Royce.

NZ News

In New Zealand, the top end growth was enjoyed by Aston Martin, McLaren, Maserati and Bentley. Sales for these brands are continuing to climb this year.

Maserati has done particularly well, thanks largely to the launch of its first SUV, the Levante, last year. Local dealers say the SUV is bringing buyers in through the doors and opening up a whole new range of customers to the Maserati line. The recently redesigned, mid-size Ghibli is also proving attractive. Sales have doubled in New Zealand (and globally) with the brand’s introduction of new models and establishment of a new factory in Turin.

But there are only so many people who can afford a car worth more than a few hundred thousand dollars. Sales for Ferrari, Jaguar, Porsche and Lamborghini all dropped in 2017. However, Ferrari is doing well this year, with 33 sales already, compared with 25 for the whole of last year.

Volvo also took a dive, but Tesla, the smart and exciting new kid on the block, bolted away once the doors on the first dealership in New Zealand opened in Auckland. Sales leapt from 22 to 244 in 2017 and a further 147 have slipped silently out the glass entrance this year.

The other newcomer, Infiniti, sold 52 cars last year, but it seems like just about everyone who wanted one got in early as only seven have been driven off by new owners so far this year.