July new vehicle registrations in New Zealand remained strong, according to the local Motor Industry Association (MIA) which represents new vehicle importers.

Year to date sales to the end of July were up 19.5% year on year (9,493 vehicles) to 58,210 units. July 2012 new passenger car registrations rose 27.2% to 6,208 while commercial vehicle sales rose 17.9% to 2,153.

However, the number of new cars registered fell for the first time in three months in July, down 13.1% month on month, according to the New Zealand Transport Agency.

The country imports a substantial number of used vehicles, mainly from Japan.

The number of used car registrations rose 7.4% month on month but were 1.2% lower year on year in July.

Overall, car registrations, new and used, were 3.6% lower month on month but 10.8 percent higher year on year.

The number of new commercial vehicle registrations fell 27.8% month on month.

“Business and private buyers are recognising the full benefits of a 'New Zealand new' vehicle with their outstanding value, world class life and injury saving safety benefits and improving fuel economy,” said MIA CEO Perry Kerr.

“The new vehicle industry continues to outperform other sectors of the economy and have well and truly shaken off all of the supply problems they faced during 2011. Members and their dealers will again be very happy with this result,” Kerr added.

Toyota remained top seller of passenger cars with 1,098 registrations followed by General Motors' Holden (735) and Ford (628).

Toyota also topped the commericals sales chart with 531 registrations followed by Ford (376) and Nissan (218).  The two best selling models for the month were both light commercials - Ford's Thai-built Ranger (330) and the Toyota Hilux (328), followed by Nissan's Navara (198).

The Holden Captiva was the best-selling passenger car in July with 261 registrations ahead of the Suzuki Swift (242) and Toyota Corolla (235).