Home' Christchurch Mail : April 18th 2013 Contents 20 CHRISTCHURCH MAIL, APRIL 18, 2013
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Petrol $95 • Diesel $145
will see gains first
In a slump: No car bargains yet.
By JASON KRUPP
The yen is slumping heavily against the New Zealand
dollar, but car buyers are being told they won't get
a bargain on imported Japanese cars -- at least
The New Zealand dollar has gained about 20 per
cent against the yen since the beginning of this
year -- much of that in April alone, as the Bank of
Japan pumped US$1.4 billion (NZ$1.6b) into its
The money-printing programme has pushed
the cross rate to 85.76 yen -- leaving it lingering near
its highest level.
However, car dealers are quick to burst the bubble,
saying there is very little correlation between vehicle
prices and currency movements.
In the new car market, dealers say orders are
queued up to seven months in advance. Any gains in
the currency would have to be sustained for that
period before car buyers could see any benefit.
Nissan New Zealand's managing director, John
Manly, said those currency gains were likely to be
muted because dealers typically bought cars from
various countries whose currencies did not move in
''Nissan buys vehicles from Japan, the UK, Spain,
Thailand and India,'' he said.
''We pay in different currencies all the time.''
Any margin gains are likely to be retained by the
car manufacturers themselves, said Tom Peck, head of
Suzuki New Zealand.
''A number of manufacturers have been working on
slim margins coming out of the GFC [global financial
crisis] and they need to look at their own businesses
first before passing any gain on,'' he said.
Peck cited the Suzuki Vitara as an example of how
margins had come under pressure over time, with a
new top-spec model costing about $42,000 -- which
is exactly the price a buyer in 1992 would have paid.
Had the price gone up by inflation, it would sell at
$67,000 at today's prices.
Even the prices of second-hand Japan imports
appear to shake off any gains from the currency.
Robert Young, head of Nichibo New Zealand's
operations, said that was because Japan's 60,000 unit-
per-month export trade operated more like a
commodity market than a car lot.Young said dealers
also needed to consider that New Zealand was not
the only party bidding for cars, with 219 countries
officially buying Japanese second-hand imports.
Young urged buyers to avoid timing the market,
saying Trade Me and other industry websites had
made the market so transparent that everyone pretty
much knew each other's margins.
may be lowest
A fourth straight decline in petrol prices is
undoubtedly good news for motorists, but
experts say the downward streak has most likely run
Most major fuel retailers trimmed fuel prices by 2
cents last week, with a litre of 91 octane now selling
at 209.9c, 95 octane at 217.9c, and diesel at 146.9c
across most major service stations.
BP spokesman Jonty Mills said an ongoing decline
in the price of refined petroleum products and a spike
in the New Zealand dollar had enabled oil companies
to pass on more cost savings to customers.
Prices have now slid 11c since the near-record
highs reached in February. In that period, the New
Zealand dollar has gained 2.7 per cent, recently
trading at US$86.36c -- a level it has only reached
once before since floating in 1985.
Brent crude prices -- one of the main cost
components in refined petroleum -- have dropped 12
per cent to trade at US$104.37 a barrel. Fairfax NZ
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