Just released NZTA registration data showed 6,079 new car registrations in March, up 12.7% on March 2010 and 12% ahead year to date. Total commercial registrations of 2,181 were 36.7% ahead of March 2010 and up 24% year to date, New Zealand's Motor Industry Association (MIA) said.

“2011 has started very well for the new vehicle industry”, said MIA CEO Perry Kerr.

“Looking forward, there are, however, two unknowns, firstly the influence on sales of the devastating Christchurch earthquake. Second will be the impact on supplies of new vehicles following the Japanese earthquake and tsunami. The industry in Japan is still assessing the consequences of the damage to the numerous component suppliers as well as the effect on production from the plant shutdowns."

Kerr added that “here in New Zealand as at the end of February members had around three months' stock of new vehicles.  However in all likelihood future supplies of new vehicles from Japan, Thailand and Australia will be affected.  This will lead to shortages of some models, colours, etc.  We will not escape the inevitable impact that will flow on from these two unparalleled disasters.” 

Total new car sales of 6,079 were led by Toyota with just under 20% of the market. Hyundai continued its strong growth remaining in number two spot with 550 sales. Third place was taken by Holden with 509 registrations. The top selling passenger model for the month was the Toyota Corolla with 355 registrations, followed by the Suzuki Swift (307) and Toyota Yaris (243).

In commercial vehicles Toyota retained top spot with 711 registrations followed by Nissan (281) and Ford (255).  The top selling model for the month was the Toyota Hilux (514).  In second place was the Nissan Navara (270) followed by the Ford Ranger (205).