New Zealand new car sales "rose significantly" year on year in August, the country's new vehicle importers association said, echoing comments on Monday from the Australian group.

Official government registration data show that 5,767 new passenger cars were registered last month in New Zealand up 22.2% (1,047 vehicles) on August 2010.

This was the best result for August since 2007 said Perry Kerr, chief executive officer of the Motor Industry Association.

“The industry is very pleased with this result. New vehicle supply is continuing to improve following the devastating earthquake and tsunami damage in Japan. We are now hopeful supply will be back to normal this month or next.”

Sales of 1,698 new commercial vehicles were down slightly (1%) on August 2011 but, year to date, this sector is up 16.3% (2,024 vehicles) on 2010.  

Toyota remained top selling passenger car brand with 13.3% followed by Hyundai (10.7%) and Ford (10%).  Toyota also led the commercial vehicle segment with a 26.4% market share followed by Ford (9.9%) and Nissan (8.3%).  

The top selling passenger car model in August was the Mazda 3 (271 vehicles; coincidentally it was also top single model in Australia) followed by the Suzuki Swift (221) and the Hyundai i30 (211).

Year to date the Suzuki Swift (2,199) was the top selling passenger car, for the second month running followed by the Toyota Corolla (2,089) and Holden Commodore (1,705).  In commercials, the Toyota Hilux continued to be the country’s top selling model (340), followed by the Nissan Navara (127), Ford Ranger (106) and Mercedes-Benz Sprinter (105).