3 Mar 2022

Buyers snap up utes ahead of higher fees for polluting vehicles

5:17 pm on 3 March 2022

New car registrations hit a record in February, as people flocked to buy utes before the new tax on polluting vehicles comes into effect.

CHIANG MAI, THAILAND - JULY 27  2017: Private Pickup car, Ford Ranger. On road no.1001, 8 km from Chiangmai city.

The Ford Ranger was the top seller in Aotearoa in February. Photo: 123RF

The Motor Industry Association said there were 12,551 new registrations for the month - a February record - up half a percent from the same month last year.

It comes as the feebate side of the Clean Car Discount Scheme approaches its start date from April, meaning vehicles that pollute more would pay higher fees.

The association's chief executive David Crawford said this was expected and would likely be repeated in the March sales.

"Once the full Clean Car Discount comes into effect on 1 April, it is anticipated sales of light commercial vehicles (utes, vans etc) will soften."

Crawford said there was also a huge backlog of orders from last year for popular models, which are only being delivered now.

Just as sales of light commercial vehicles were expected to ease, Crawford said sales of non-commercial passenger vehicles (most everyday cars) were expected to go up from April, as the rebate scheme expands to cover more cars.

From the beginning of July last year until the end of this month, the rebate only covers full electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid models.

But from April, other low emission and hybrid vehicles (non-plugins will be included this time) will also be eligible for a rebate.

The fees or discounts will depend on a car's CO2 emissions.

"Every time you get this significant change in regulatory rules we do see sales patterns shift a couple of months before the rules take effect, and then they shift again post them taking effect," Crawford said.

Top 10 new car registrations for February 2022

  • 1. Ford Ranger
  • 2. Toyota Hilux
  • 3. Mitsubishi Triton
  • 4. Mitsubishi Outlander
  • 5. Tesla Model 3
  • 6. Nissan Navara
  • 7. Suzuki Swift
  • 8. Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross
  • 9. Toyota RAV4
  • 10. MG ZS
  • Govt decision to delay Clean Vehicles Bill will cost $40 million
  • Opinion: Electric cars alone won't save the planet
  • Tesla boss praises New Zealand's EV efforts
  • Russia-Ukraine conflict pushes global oil prices, with flow-on effects for New Zealand