Bumper year for vehicle sales in 2013

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North Otago car and motorbike dealers enjoyed a bumper 2013 and the strong trend looks as though it will continue.

North Otago Motor Group chief executive Peter Robinson said 2012 had not been a bad year but 2013 was even better.

“We were tremendously busy through the year right to the end and it was across all sectors. North Otago is agriculture-based but we had tradespeople and the retired and both our franchises were well above the national average of sales.”

Motor Trade Association figures show North Otago dealers sold 160 new commercial vehicles (trucks, vans and utes) – a 44 per cent increase on 2012.

Sales of new cars matched a 7 per cent growth in national sales while used import cars had a 33 per cent increase compared to the national increase of 26 per cent.

Last year Oamaru dealers sold 38 new motorbikes which was a 158 per cent increase on 2012.

Sandra Young, of Young Motors, said the price of petrol could have been a factor in the increased motorbike sales.

“We sold right across the board – farm bikes, kids’ bikes and road bikes. It’s an indication there’s confidence out there.”

Mr Robinson expected the strong trend to continue.

“The manufacturers of Toyota and Holden are predicting an increase on 2013 and they’re pretty good in their predictions.

“There’s not too much bad news and we’ve had our hiccups, like Summit, but It’s pointing to another excellent year for North Otago.”

Motor Trade Association spokesperson Ian Stronach said the whole market had improved generally in recent years, but 2013 proved to be exceptional with improvements in every sector MTA monitored.

“The performance of the industry set the pace for overall economic recovery, and this seems to be a pattern being repeated in overseas economies; vehicle sales have picked up ahead of improvements in other areas.”

Toyota was the most popular brand in 2013 – being ahead of its rivals for used passenger vehicle, new passenger vehicle and new commercial vehicle. Next were Holden and Hyundai.

Suzuki led the market for on-road motorcycle sales, followed by Honda and Harley Davidson.

By CHRIS TOBIN