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Regional drivers ditching dungers for used import cars

Regional drivers ditching dungers as used import cars set new records

By Pattrick Smellie

July 12 (BusinessDesk) - National car auction firm Turners is pointing to a huge surge in demand for imported used cars from regional centres as indicating a wave of confidence is producing a car fleet upgrade in a more confident provincial New Zealand.

"We think there is a fleet renewal underway, resulting from the fact that 700,000 cars and light commercials or 20 percent of the fleet are over 20 years old," Turners chief executive Todd Hunter told BusinessDesk in emailed comments. "The strong kiwi dollar and competitive new and used car prices are also supporting this.

"In the regions, this is also likely to be underpinned by higher confidence resulting from strong primary product prices and tourism receipts."

Turners' analysis of its own sales figures found not only record-breaking numbers of used imported cars being registered in the main cities, but spectacular surges of more than 20 percent in regions including Whangarei, New Plymouth, Nelson, Blenheim, Timaru and Oamaru.

"In fact, Greymouth leads the used import registration growth statistics with 70.7 percent year-to-date growth, although these 70 units (up from 41) are hardly having a large effect on the national import figures," said Hunter. "The over 10 percent year-to-date growth is largely controlled by large volumes of vehicles in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch."


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