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Tesla Model Y captures another customer. Photo by David Waterworth.

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Tesla Model Y Beats Ford & Toyota Best Sellers In New Zealand

New Zealand’s aggressive bonus malus approach has enabled a fully electric vehicle (BEV), the Tesla Model Y, to become the top selling car in September. The Tesla Model Y beat Ford and Toyota’s top models! One thousand five hundred and two (1502) Tesla Model Y were registered, compared with 1043 Ford Rangers and 989 Toyota Hilux.

There was good news from BYD and MG as well, with 221 BYD Attos registered and 178 MG ZS EVs registered. This is out of a total of 10,601 passenger cars/SUVs sold in the country. So, 100% electric vehicles accounted for almost 20% of total registrations in NZ in September. 

This needs to be seen within the year-to-date context. The top models in New Zealand so far in 2022 are the Toyota Hilux (7621), Ford Ranger (7450), and Mitsubishi Outlander (7139). “From July 2021, the New Zealand government has subsidized the purchase of new electric cars and plug-in hybrids with up to 8,625 New Zealand dollars. The programme is financed by introducing new levies on vehicles with high emissions, making it a bonus-malus scheme. According to the Guardian, this will make an imported Toyota Hilux — one of New Zealand’s most popular off-road vehicles — 2,900 New Zealand dollars more expensive.”

Looking at the global picture, as Berlin ramps production, Shanghai has more vehicles to export “Down Under” to Australia and New Zealand.

What of the future — will New Zealand’s EV demand continue to grow? There are some who attribute the high September numbers to pent up demand (perhaps 3 months’ worth of backorders and 2 years’ worth of demand). Will the Tesla Model Y beat Ford and Toyota in December? We won’t have long to find out, as right-hand-drive models are being built in Shanghai and will soon start shipping. Perhaps Veda Prime can shed some insight?

Another headwind will come from the falling NZ dollar and a likely price adjustment. And more affordable BEVs will be moving into the market, as BYD and MG increase shipments and LDV launches its ute there.

Some expect that in the second half of 2023 — when BEVs like the MG4 EV, BYD Dolphin, and Ora Good Cat have landed in NZ — the penetration rate will reach 30% of new car sales. Other vehicles (like the Cupra Born, Volkswagen’s ID.4, and the Opel Mokka-e) are expected but might be too expensive to sell at volume.

All in all, it looks like the land of the long white cloud is transitioning rapidly away from fossil fuel powered vehicles. 

 
 
 
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Written By

David Waterworth is a retired teacher who divides his time between looking after his grandchildren and trying to make sure they have a planet to live on. He is long on Tesla [NASDAQ:TSLA].

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