Tesla Takes the Crown: Leading the Pack in New Zealand’s Auto Market

In a notable shift in 's auto landscape, Tesla's Model Y has surged to the top, clinching the title of the best-selling new car in September. Amidst industry challenges and potential changes in government legislation, 's dominance reflects a growing appetite for sustainable alternatives.

As per the fresh data from Waka Kotahi, Tesla's achieved a narrow victory against the established favorite, the RAV4, registering 697 vehicles to Toyota's 683. While the Ranger maintained its commercial market superiority with 605 registrations, it trailed Tesla to take third place overall. The top ten was rounded out by established names and newcomers alike, with the MG4, a recent addition to the electric hatch family, making its inaugural appearance.

What's intriguing about Tesla's September success is its backdrop. The National Party has recently voiced plans to wind down the Clean Car Discount rebate for electric and low-emission vehicles by the end of 2023 if voted into power. However, it's important to note, as some analysts point out, that Tesla's impressive figures might stem from the fulfillment of pre-existing historic orders rather than new sales alone. As, Stuff, mentions, “the manufacturer's strong sales numbers are unlikely to correlate with National leader Christopher Luxon's claims.”

Yet, despite Tesla's triumph, the broader auto market in New Zealand paints a slightly somber picture. September did witness a rebound from August, but the sales are still a far cry from the performance a year ago. A significant 26.5% year-on-year drop was reported, with only 10,909 new vehicles registered. Aimee Wiley, the Motor Industry Association's chief executive, elaborated on this downturn, attributing it to lingering effects from the industry's record performance in June and a challenging economic climate. She further added that there's been a “hesitation or reluctance to purchase pre-election, particularly with transport policy changes hinging upon the election result.”

The top 10 lineup for September 2023:

  1. Tesla Model Y: 697
  2. Toyota RAV4: 683
  3. Ford Ranger: 605
  4. Toyota Hilux: 540
  5. Toyota Yaris Cross: 316
  6. Mitsubishi ASX: 286
  7. Mitsubishi Outlander: 268
  8. MG ZS: 250
  9. Mitsubishi Triton: 198
  10. MG4: 159

Tesla's rise to the top underscores an evolving preference among consumers, marking an electrifying phase for New Zealand's automotive market. Whether this momentum sustains remains to be seen, but for now, Tesla enjoys the spotlight.

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Haye Kesteloo
Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Founder of EVXL.co, where he covers all electric vehicle-related news, covering brands such as Tesla, Ford, GM, BMW, Nissan and others. He fulfills a similar role at the drone news site DroneXL.co. Haye can be reached at haye @ evxl.co or @hayekesteloo.

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