2 Dec 2009

More Chinese car brands to be sold in NZ

7:29 am on 2 December 2009

The introduction of more Chinese vehicles is expected to have a major impact on the New Zealand car market.

The sole Chinese car brand, Great Wall, will be joined by at least two others next year, Geely and Chery.

It is expected these brands and others that follow will have cars with a starting price between $13,000 and $15,000.

Motor Industry Association chief executive Perry Kerr says over time, Chinese cars will put pressure on used car imports from Japan and the used car industry.

"With new car sales being at the record lows that they have been over the last 18 months, there is going to be a shortage of quality used product over the next three to five years.

"That's going to put pressure on prices, it's going to put pressure on supply. [The Chinese] vehicles may just fit into that market segment quite nicely."

Mr Kerr expects perception problems will be overcome and that the public will accept Chinese vehicles within five years.

The Imported Motor Vehicle Industry Association says while there is a reluctance from certain quarters to talk about the Chinese vehicles, it would be unwise for dealers to discount their potential impact on the market.

Association chairman Graeme MacDonald says astute dealers will see the long-term opportunities Chinese cars might present.

"At the end of the day, an astute dealer will look at all different types of business to complement their stock. If you're astute enough, you won't look down at a product based on its source.

"I think there's a real opportunity there for some dealers if they're prepared to stay the course with the product through its early years."