The new vehicle sales boom in New Zealand continued in May with figures well up on April, and exceeding the record sales posted in May last year.

6,061 new cars were registered, 9.8% ahead of April, and 3.2% ahead of May 2004. New commercial vehicles showed even more spectacular growth, with 2,358 sales exceeding the April figure by 23.7%, and beating May 2004's tally by 26.3%. It was the best May for new car sales since 1990, and the biggest for commercials since 1982. Year to date, the total new vehicle market for the first five months of 2005 was 5.5% ahead of the same period last year.

"The new vehicle market continues to gather strength despite the threat of economic slowdown," said Perry Kerr, CEO of the Motor Industry Association. "In fact we believe that the economy is playing a lesser role in this trend, because the underlying fact is that the public now understands that new vehicles represent fundamentally better value than they use to, both on an outright cost and a depreciation basis."

Ford convincingly wrested passenger car leadership from Toyota in May, both for the month and year to date, but Toyota's exceptional performance in commercials saw the brand hold onto its lead in total vehicles.

The Holden Commodore remains New Zealand's most popular new vehicle.