The New Zealand new vehicle market in July reached 8,494 units, 4% ahead of July 2003. New car sales were actually marginally down (by 102 units) compared with the same month a year ago, but this was offset by new commercial vehicle sales which exceeded last July's figures by 429.

"Year to date the market is running 9% ahead of last year," said Perry Kerr, CEO of the Motor Industry Association. "If it continues at this level the full year will just exceed the magic 100,000 units. In 1998, just six years ago, the total new vehicle market reached only 66,000, so we have seen a lift of over 50% in that time."

Toyota again led the market in July, and although Holden took second place for the month, Ford is still in a strong second place year to date.

The Holden Commodore was the top-selling model for the month by 150 units over Toyota's Corolla, with Ford's Falcon relegated to third. Year to date, the Commodore has moved out to a 698 unit lead over the Falcon.