Record car sales boost Holden NZ, Mercedes-Benz NZ revenue in 2016

New Zealand's car market has been on a tear for the past three years, setting new records every month.

Revenue at Holden New Zealand and Mercedes-Benz New Zealand rose in calendar 2016 as new car sales continue to top records, but both companies also reported a higher cost of sales, largely to related entities, which weighed on net profit.

New Zealand's car market has been on a tear for the past three years, setting new records every month through that period as the country's relatively strong labour market has provided enough jobs for an expanding population. Motor Industry Association figures last week showed registrations of new vehicles rose 7 percent to 10,635 in April from the same month a year earlier, led by a 16 percent gain in commercial vehicle registrations to 3,639.

Documents filed with the Companies Office show Holden New Zealand reported revenue of $572.7 million in the 12 months ended Dec. 31 versus $531.1 million in the prior year. Cost of sales, however, rose 8.5 percent to $527.3 million of which about 80 percent was to related entities versus 72 percent in the prior year. As a result, net profit was stable at $14.92 million versus $14.95 million in the prior year.

Mercedes-Benz New Zealand's revenue rose to $295 million from $270 million in 2015 while its cost of sales rose 13 percent to $267.5 million, of which 96 percent was to related parties, the bulk going to Daimler AG. In the prior year, around 91 percent was paid to related entities. Mercedes-Benz NZ also saw higher administrative expenses and lower financial income. Its profit for the year was $8.6 million, down from $15.2 million in 2015.

The MIA figures show April year-to-date registrations rose 13 percent to 50,059. Japanese car maker Toyota was the most popular car in the year-to-date figures with 16 percent growth in registrations, followed by US automaker Ford at 11 percent. Holden was the third most popular manufacturer with 9 percent. Mercedes-Benz had 2 percent of the market and is the 12th most popular manufacturer.

In calendar 2016 there were 14,337 new Holden passenger and commercial cars registered, the third highest carmaker with 10 percent of the market, while 3,436 new Mercedes-Benz vehicles were registered, down in 12th place among manufacturers.