Timaru District Quarterly economic monitor - March 2020

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Car registrations

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Highlights for Timaru District

  • The number of cars registered in Timaru District increased by 55.5% in the year to March 2020 compared with the previous 12 months. Growth was higher than in New Zealand, where car sales decreased by -11.5%.
  • A total of 2,935 cars were registered in Timaru District in the year to March 2020. This compares with the ten year average of 1,737.

National overview

Car registrations continue to decline, falling 11.5% in the March 2020 year. The downturn in car registrations reflects a weakening economic tapestry of slowing population growth, softening employment growth and subdued consumer confidence. Trading restrictions under Alert Level 3 then Level 4 in late March didn’t help either. The softening car market was reflected in falling registrations across both new and used cars and, within these two markets, across both large and small vehicles. The outlook for the car market is dire. Further trading restrictions in April and May will make for a difficult June quarter. With the economy expected to contract 8.0% in the March 2021 year, and unemployment set to hit 9.0% over the same period, consumers’ will be unwilling to make major purchases for the foreseeable future.