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Toyota vehicle sales surge helps lift market

Strong sales in May have accelerated Toyota's momentum, and helped to lift the automotive market. Toyota is predicting further growth to come thanks to a range of exciting vehicle launches.

Steve Prangnell, Toyota New Zealand General Manager Sales and Operations, says the arrival of the all-new Corolla wagon and Prius v this month will add to Toyota's market momentum.

"Customer excitement around the new vehicle ranges already released this year, such as Camry, Prius c, Avensis and Aurion, and a return to normal supply of the iconic Hilux, have helped us rebound strongly from a year badly affected by natural disasters in Japan and Thailand."

"Following an impressive May, when we secured more than 20 per cent market share for the first time since January, Toyota is back in a big way thanks to our loyal customers."

Toyota's overall market share increased from 17.5 per cent in April, to 20.1 per cent in May, while the manufacturers ranked second to fifth in April all fell back. This gave Toyota 19.3 per cent market share year-to-date.

"We anticipate a continuing strong market for the rest of 2012, which will help us reach our year-end target of 23 per cent share. That would match the level we achieved in 2010, and mark a return to the status quo."

"Sales are being helped by our traditionally strong Fieldays period with the new Hilux, and much-anticipated vehicle launches to come.

"There is already excitement building among sports car fans about the Toyota 86, which will hit the market in August, and the new generation Corolla hatch, New Zealand's favourite passenger vehicle, will be here in late October," says Steve Prangnell.

Toyota's seasonally adjusted calculations indicate the New Zealand market will finish with sales up 6,000 on the 90,000 predicted by industry analysts at the start of the year - double the growth predicted.

Land Transport Agency data shows registrations across the New Zealand market this year have been better every month than the comparative period in 2011, even though the first quarter of last year was relatively strong.

Registrations in April and May were up 25 per cent and 26 per cent respectively, on the same month last year. Steve Prangnell says those dramatic rises reflect supply returning to normal after months affected by last year's natural disasters.

He says Toyota's long-term view is the New Zealand market will continue to lift towards more than 100,000 annual sales, a level achieved before the global financial crisis hit.

In Japan, Toyota domestic sales this April were not surprisingly triple those of post-earthquake April 2011.

"There is solid demand in Japan for hybrid and other fuel-efficient vehicles, backed by government purchasing incentives. Toyota's exports increased nearly six-fold to 180,050 vehicles as shipments to all regions rose."

In the US, Toyota sales were up 87 per cent in May, compared to May 2011 - outstripping the year-on-year market increase of 20 per cent.

"Globally, Toyota is starting to wind up the pressure with exciting new products which are winning over customers," says Steve Prangnell.