Corolla, Ranger top May's pace-setters

New vehicle registrations are continuing to race along, last month’s count being the best for May since records began.

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DOMINATION last month of the new car market by sports utility vehicles has proven to be a blip – the just-released count ups for May show we’re back to business as usual, with two established favourites regaining dominance.

The Kia Sportage that took the limelight in April was an also-ran last month, and while two others that also did well then - the Toyota RAV4 and Mazda CX-5 - continued to achieve reasonable counts, it was the market's old favourite, the Toyota Corolla, that regained its traditional position as top passenger car.

Meantime, a one-tonne utility that has regularly scored the limelight over the past 18 months was back  as the overall sales leader in May, overtaking its arch-rival.

In claiming a massive 755 sales for the month, the Ford Ranger was not only the top-selling traydeck by some margin – with 21 percent of its category - but also the overall market leader, a step up from April when it was beaten by the Toyota Hilux.

In May, however, Hilux was second-best in the ute category (573 units) while Corolla, the rental market favourite, took a four percent slice of the passenger market with 323 sales, followed by RAV4 with 249 units and three percent then the CX-5, on three percent and 246 units – a record count for the type.

Mazda was also second in overall passenger car sales, with a 9.7 percent share, with the Mazda2, Mazda3 and Mazda6 all finishing second in their respective segment.

Toyota, though, was the overall market leader for the month with 16 percent market share (1753 units) with Ford second on 14 percent (1511 units) and Holden third with 10 percent (1088 units).

Toyota also remains the passenger car market leader with 13 percent share (965 units) for May, with Ford second on nine percent (697 units) and Holden third, also with nine percent but 677 units.

Ford led the commercial vehicle market – which comprises vans as well as utes - with 22 percent share (814 units) followed by Toyota at 21 percent (788 units) and Holden third at 11 percent (411 units).

Despite falling back, Hilux maintained as a key player within utedom itself, with 16 percent market share, while Holden’s Colorado – now effectively in runout with a big update due later in the year – holding its own with 382 sales, for 10 percent share.

However, the year-to-date performance by Ranger bodes well for Ford claiming the ute sector for a third consecutive year. The model retains its lead as the top selling commercial model with 3164 sales for 19 percent market share followed by Hilux, with 15 percent market share and 2453 units.

Utes and sports utilities remain the choice picks for Kiwis; the top three models for the month were again light commercial vehicles and pickups had 24 percent of that action while the SUV segments cumulatively accounted for 35 percent of registrations.

Overall, though, we’re buying more passenger models than commercials. The Motor Industry Association, which speaks on behalf of all new vehicle distributors and whose dataset goes back to 1975, says passenger registrations were up 1146 (11.4 percent) over May 2015 to 7502. They were also up 2812 units (5.3 percent) year-to-date compared to this time in 2015 – a total of 55,374 vehicles.

Commercial registrations, by comparison, totaled 3678, up from 3191 a year ago.

The MIA reckons on two factors driving the new vehicle market.

“Strong net immigration continues to be a key driver of increased registrations of new vehicles, along with Auckland’s booming regional economy” says association chief executive David Crawford.