The number of new vehicles sold in New Zealand during 2006 declined compared with the record set in 2005.

Official Land Transport figures showed that 5,468 new cars and 1,601 new commercial vehicles were sold in December, bringing the full year total to 99,986 new vehicles, 3.3% down on 2005's peak of 103,448.

"After five years of solid growth in new vehicle sales, a levelling-out was inevitable," said Motor Industry Association CEO Perry Kerr. "The industry is in good heart and sales volumes have settled at a vastly healthier level than we were experiencing at the end of the nineties. We're expecting 2007 to produce a similar level of sales to 2006."

Toyota took total market leadership ahead of Ford. New car sales totalled 76,804 and the top selling model was GM Holden's Australian-made Commodore which sold 5,376 units ahead of Toyota's Corolla (5,297).