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Toyota Beats Recession By Looking Beyond It

In the midst of the financial crisis and global recession, Toyota again led the way in New Zealand last year- as the market leader for the 22nd year in succession.

In 2009 Toyota's mainstay passenger car, the Corolla was again the top selling vehicle (4,699) with Toyota's Hilux light truck the second best (3,043). 2009 also marks the 27th year in succession that Hilux has been New Zealand's best selling light commercial vehicle.

Land Transport Safety Authority figures just released show Toyota New Zealand sold 15,624 new vehicles to capture 22.3 per cent of the total market in 2009 - well ahead of its nearest rival Ford which sold 8,529 for 12.2 per cent.

In third place was Holden with sales of 7,065 (10.1 per cent), followed by Mazda with 5,697

(8.1 per cent), and Nissan with 4,404 (6.3 per cent).

During 2009 there were 70,048 new vehicles sold in New Zealand - 28 per cent down on that for 2008. Toyota's CEO Alistair Davis said despite the market being down almost one third, Toyota market share was largely unchanged and Toyota had remained strong through the turbulent times of the past two years.

"The global financial crisis along with the Copenhagen climate change crescendo has forced everyone to re-examine their priorities," Mr Davis said. "The car industry has seen a pronounced shift to smaller, more environmentally friendly, affordable vehicles and is now on the cusp on new technology advances."

Mr Davis commented that the highlight for Toyota last year was introducing the third generation Prius Hybrid which was a medium size sedan with 3.9 litres / 100 km fuel economy; better than 70 miles per gallon in the old measure. Toyota continues to lead the world in environmental technology with its hybrid synergy drive systems that were first introduced in 1997. At that time they were a pioneering technology but have increasingly become mainstream. "It took Toyota around 10 years to sell their first million hybrids; it took just over two years to sell their second million," Mr Davis said.

Hybrid technology will continue to move into the mainstream in 2010 with the release of the Camry Hybrid. Toyota will also begin New Zealand trials of a plug-in hybrid Prius, with a rated fuel economy of 2.6 litres / 100 km, thus breaking the barrier of 100 miles per gallon for a medium size car.

Mr Davis said Toyota globally was continuing to invest in research and development (R&D) for new products and in fact have just released their latest figures showing every day NZ$33.98 million is spent on R & D, that's $1.4million every hour.

"This demonstrates Toyota's focus to look beyond the present recession towards sustainable motoring solutions for New Zealand and the world."