Australian carmaker Holden made huge gains in New Zealand's November car sales figures buoyed by good run-out progress on the outgoing VT version of its staple Commodore sedan, writes Dave Moore.

The new VX model also accounted for much of the brand's gains, helping it to a total of 704 cars sold for the month and 15.3% market share, compared with Toyota's 677 sales for 14.7% and Ford's 661 units and 14.4%.

When commercial vehicles are included in the sales figures for November, Toyota and Ford retain their traditional places at the top of the New Zealand sales tree, with 1147 sales (18.7%) and 1029 sales (16.8%) respectively. Holden's figures for combined car and commercial sales put it in third place overall for the month, with 864 units sold and 14.1% market share.

On a year to date basis, New Zealand's figures show Toyota and Ford heading for a year-end one-two, much as they have enjoyed for the past 13 years, with Toyota on 8172 cars and 11741 cars and commercials combined, against Ford's 7750 and 11122. Holden comes third for the year to the end of November, with 7425 cars and 9028 combined sales.

Of the other brands, November figures show Nissan, Honda and Mitsubishi in fourth fifth and sixth places, with Mitsubishi changing places with Honda when commercials are taken into consideration.

The year to date placings see Nissan, Mitsubishi, Honda and Hyundai making the running below the leading Toyota, Ford and Holden brands, with the same order ringing true when commercials are counted save for Mazda jumping ahead of Hyundai.

Total sales in new Zealand for November were 4591 passenger vehicles and 1529 commercials for a total of 6120 units. The year to date figures over all are - 53,564, 14,676 and 68,240 respectively - a rise of 2.3% in total over the same period of 1999.

Dave Moore is motoring editor of the Press, a regional daily newspaper published in Christchurch, New Zealand.