Although COVID-19 infections and deaths have remained relatively low in New Zealand, due to the country closing its borders and imposing strict quarantine rules, the pandemic still hit new vehicle registrations in 2020.

Motor Industry Association chief executive David Crawford said: "Like some other sectors of the New Zealand economy, the new vehicle sector suffered from a case of COVID. Confirmed figures for December 2020 show registrations of 8,383 were 25% under December 2019, with the total for 2020 of 119,398 registrations coming in at 23% under 2019, down 35,081 units year on year." 

The result was, however, better than anticipated last April when the country was in midst of its first lockdown, Crawford added. At the time, "we thought the market could be down as much as 35% by year end".

"The market is still being affected by stock constraints for high volume models, which we expect to ease as the 2021 year progresses." 

December 2020 registrations fell 25% year on year to 8,383 new vehicles.

Electrified vehicle sales last month were 197 BEVs, 55 PHEVs and 738 hybrids. Full year 2020 registrations were 1,519 BEV, 756 PHEV and 8,664 hybrid.

Hybrid volume rose by 2,789 units over 2019 but BEVs were down 338 and PHEVs 170 off. 

Registrations of 5,572 passenger and SUVs for December were down 32% while commercial vehicle registrations fell 6% to 2,811.

The top three models in December were the Ford Ranger (662), updated Toyota Hilux (443) and RAV4 (387).

The top three for 2020 were the Ford Ranger (7,975) Hilux (5,796) and RAV4 (5,341). 

Toyota remained overall market leader in December with a 19% share (1,602), followed by Mitsubishi (11%; 945) and Ford (11%; 911).

The full year top three were Toyota (17%; 20,762 units) followed by Ford (10%; 12,334) and Mitsubishi (9%; 10,306). 

Toyota regained top position in passenger and SUV registrations in December with an 18% share (996) followed by Mitsubishi (12%; 694) and Mazda (11%; 616 units). 

For the full year, the top three passenger and SUV brands were Toyota (16%; 12,777), Kia (10%; 7,971) and Mitsubishi (8%; 6,457).

The top selling passenger and SUV models last month were the RAV4 (387), Mitsubishi ASX (327) and Mazda CX-5 (326).

Full year top three passenger and SUV models were the RAV4 (5,341), Kia Sportage (2,907) and Seltos (2,611). 

For 2020 full year, the top three commercial brands were Ford (24%; 9,112), Toyota (21%; 7,985) and Mitsubishi (10%; 3,831).

The top three commercial in 2020 were the Ranger (7,975), Hilux (5,796) and Mitsubishi Triton (3,687).