Despite a general election there last month, New Zealanders bought new cars and commercial vehicles at a a record rate.

David Crawford, chief executive officer of the Motor Industry Association said: "The traditional slowdown in new vehicle registrations during an election period failed to materialise in September.

"Monthly registrations of 14,507 vehicles were the strongest for September on record. Registrations were 10.4% (11,165 units) year to date above this time in 2016 and for the month were up 4.5% (623 units) on September 2016."

Year to date, sales of passenger and SUVs were up by 6.8% and commercial vehicles by 18.6% compared to 2016. 

Toyota remained overall market leader with 24% market share (3,473 units), followed by Ford with 11% (1,548) and Holden 10% (1,386).

Toyota was also the market leader for passenger and SUV registrations with 24% market share (2,320 units) followed by Holden 10% (1,006) and Mazda 9% (875).

The top selling passenger and SUV models for the month were the Toyota Corolla (957 units of which 742 were rentals) followed by the RAV4 (516/352) and Kia Sportage (314). 

In the commercial sector, Toyota was again the market leader with 25% (1,153 units) followed by Ford's 19% (875) and Holden's 8% (380).

The Toyota Hilux was again the best selling commercial model with 17% share (791 units) closely followed by the Ranger's 17% (781).

Year to date, the Ranger remained both top commercial vehicle model and top model overall with 7,098 registrations compared to 6,285 for the Hilux. 

Vehicle segmentation for September reflected the strong monthly registrations of the Corolla. The top segments were SUV medium with 16% share, followed by Pick Up/Chassis Cab 4x4 (13%) and small passenger vehicles (12%). 

"As the year progresses, economic conditions of the last 18 months remain largely unchanged with low interest rates, strong net immigration, strong New Zealand currency and stable domestic economy. The combination of these factors underpins record sales of new vehicles," added Crawford.

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