New passenger vehicle sales in New Zealand continued their upward trend in July with a modest increase of 3.8% over June's numbers.

The New Zealand Transport Authority said 4,473 new passenger vehicles were registered in July, compared to 4,306 units in June.

"This shows a modest, continuing trend of increasing new passenger vehicle sales from a major low in April this year," said Motor Industry Association CEO Perry Kerr.

Commercial vehicle sales fell 30% month on month.

The association did not provide year on year comparisons. 

"One positive aspect of the new commercial vehicle market is that the July registration total of 1,267 units is the third best month this year, so that is relatively encouraging in the longer term that vehicle sales are tracking upwards," Kerr added.

Commercial sales last month included the first pickup truck sales by China's Great Wall Motors through Sydney-based Australasian distributor Ateco Automotive. Thirty-five GWM dual-cab utes were sold in July, ranking the brand eighth among the commercial vehicle distributors for the month.

Toyota, Ford and Holden were the top three brands in both the new car and commercial vehicle sectors. Year to date, Toyota's overall market share of 19.3% was ahead of Ford (12.4%) and GM Holden's 9.2%.

The Toyota Corolla remained the 70,000-cars-a-year market's best selling model so far in 2009 with sales of 2,066 units, ahead of the Holden Commodore (1,544) and Suzuki Swift (1,419).