A strong Kiwi dollar has seen motorists driving away imported Japanese cars at bargain prices - and one Tauranga car salesman predicts the trend to continue.
Figures show the New Zealand dollar is now buying about 15 per cent more against the Japanese yen compared with this time last year, and about 30 per cent more compared to two years ago.
Bryce Campbell Car Sales owner Bryce Campbell says sales have been strong in recent months. Photo: Bruce Barnard.
And the favourable exchange rate in recent months has led to a near record number of used Japanese cars now available in NZ.
At the moment it is estimated that around 19,000 cars are for sale nationally, with the volume of vehicles putting further downward pressure on prices.
Bryce Campbell Cars owner Bryce Campbell says car salesmen have been reaping the rewards of an “exceptional” exchange rate for a number of months now, with interest and sales soaring.
And he isn’t expecting it to slow down anytime soon.
Bryce says: “It’s the strongest year for many years, and I’m sure that will continue as long as we have a good economy here - which all signs are pointing to - and the exchange rate remains where it is.
“We have had an exceptional New Zealand dollar and Japanese Yen exchange rate in our favour for a while now.
“As a result, the cars that we are importing are coming through at better prices than ever, so the consumers are the winners.”
National figures released by the Motor Industry Association back this up, with 127,179 new vehicles registered in 2014 - more than for any previous year and up 12 per cent (14,062) on 2013.
Commercial vehicle sales also hit a record, with 36,662 vehicles sold, easing past the previous record set in 2013 by 19 per cent.
However, the 90,517 new passenger car registrations was short of the record of 97,346 set in 1973.
According to Priority One’s latest figures in the Western BOP there, were 878 cars registered during last October.
This was an increase from the 865 cars registered in September 2014 and also greater than the 657 cars registered in October 2013.
The annual average growth rate in the number of cars registered in the sub-region was 23.2 per cent for the year ended October 2014.
Bryce, in reference to his car yard, says all major brands are seeing an upturn in interest, with sales strong.
He says: “People are confident about their employment, people are more confident about the economy and people can see the value for money in cars.
“Unfortunately, the exchange rate may not stay there forever so we may look back at this period and say it was a good time. Right now all the indicators are that it’s a great time to get out and buy a car.”
Car owners and buyers are also enjoying falling petrol prices, the lowest since 2010, to go with cheaper imports.