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High Fuel Prices Drive Up Small Car Sales

29 April 2008

High Fuel Prices Drive Up Small Car Sales

Rising petrol prices continue to drive up sales of smaller engine cars, according to latest sales figures from the country’s largest vehicle auction house.

Sales figures from Turners Auctions show vehicles sold in the under 2.1 litre category made up 62 per cent of all cars sold in the first quarter of 2008, up from 59 per cent in the last quarter of 2007.

The increase has come at the expense of more fuel-hungry vehicles. Sales in the 2.1 – 3.0 litre category have dropped from 30 per cent of all cars sold in the last quarter of 2007, to 28 per cent in the first quarter of 2008.

Turners General Manager Marketing Todd Hunter said demand for more economic sized vehicles had been met with a large supply of 2.0 litre company lease vehicles – such as the Mazda 6 model - coming onto the market in recent months.

“With petrol now breaking through the $2-a-litre mark, compounded by a squeeze on domestic spending capacity, many buyers are now looking at ways to economise their outlay on transport. Trading to a smaller engine vehicle is an obvious quick and long-term answer to this challenge,” said Mr Hunter.

Demand for this fuel-efficient sub 2.1 litre category has seen the Subaru Legacy remain as the number one second-hand vehicle make and model being sold through Turners. Todd Hunter said prices for Japanese-imported Legacies had remained attractive for the past six months - thanks to the high value of the New Zealand dollar against the Japanese yen.

Five other makes and models in the sub-2.1 litre category dominate Turner’s top 10 sales list for the first three month of the year. They include the Nissan Primera, Toyota Corolla, Mazda Familia, Honda Accord and Mitsubishi Galant.

As a consequence, prices for bigger engine vehicles being sold through Turners Auctions have dropped. Todd Hunter said the average price for vehicles in the 2.1 – 3.0 litre range fell from $7487 in the fourth quarter of 2007 to $7243 for the first three months of 2008. A similar drop was noted in the over 3.0 litre market – falling from $10,969 at the end of last year to $10,435 for the March quarter.


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