Car sales have surged in the first quarter of 2017 driving an increase in total retail trade sales, says Stats NZ.
New Zealand's motor vehicle industry had record 5.9 percent increase in the March 2017 quarter after adjusting for inflation, and accounted for more than half the increase in total retail sales volume for the quarter. This is the largest quarterly increase since Stats NZ's Retail Trade Survey began.
The total retail sales volume was up 1.5 percent in the latest quarter. In actual terms, the value of total retail sales for the March 2017 quarter was $21.5 billion.
The two other high performers driving this increase were food and beverage (up 3.5 percent) and electrical and electronic goods (up 5.3 percent). Performing less well were department stores; recreational goods retailing; hardware, building and garden supplies; specialised food retailing (excluding liquor) and supermarket and grocery stores. Fuel retailing had the largest fall at 3.4 percent down, followed by specialised food (down 2.7 percent) and supermarkets and grocery (down 1.5 percent).
“Car sales have shown consistent growth over the past year, with higher sales of both new and used vehicles in a buoyant market," senior business indicators manager Neil Kelly said.
"The demand for cars may reflect New Zealand's growing population, with net migration remaining at record levels into 2017, and the relatively low cost of new vehicles."
In actual numbers, New Zealand Transport Agency figures show increases for registrations of passenger vehicles – up 12 percent in the March 2017 quarter from the same period in 2016.