The end of the financial year saw a month on month rise in new car sales in New Zealand to 6,794 registrations though the figure was down on March 2006's record-breaking high.

Year to date, first quarter new car registrations were flat compared with 2006 at 19,376 units. The commercial vehicle market was likewise up on February, with sales of 2,444, but down on March 2006 with the year to date numbers also down 1.8% to 5,836.

Perry Kerr, chief executive officer of the Motor Industry Association, said that the year was holding up well especially when compared to the records of 2006.

"We are still predicting a strong new vehicle market in 2007," he said.

Toyota is holding onto the number one spot for total sales (4,340 units) with the top places in the passenger car market unchanged from last month.  Toyota led with 2,779 followed by Holden (2,509), with Honda holding onto third place with 2,019 units, just eight ahead of Ford.

While Holden's Commodore was top-selling new car in the first quarter (1,617 units), and the Toyota second (as usual) on 1,185, ahead of the Ford Falcon (743), the small car market has shown growth, with the Suzuki Swift now fourth (691 units) ahead of the Honda Civic (569).