June saw a continuation of the unbroken four-year boom in the New Zealand new vehicle market, according to the country's new vehicle trade group.

The Motor Industry Association (MIA) said June's new car sales of 7,713 were 27% up on May's result, while new commercial vehicle sales were up 13% to 2,668 units. It was the best month for new car sales since June 1989, and the best for new commercials since March 1985.

For the first half of the year, the new car market was 49% stronger than it was in 1998, the year import duty on new cars was abolished, leading to the end of local CKD assembly operations and a switch by all car makers to full imports. Over 1,000 more new commercial vehicles were sold in the first half of this year than in the whole of 1998.

"The main thing that held the new vehicle market back in the late '90s was the shortage of New Zealand-new used cars as a result of the used import boom, "said Perry Kerr, CEO of the Motor Industry Association.

"Since then, the sustained growth of the new vehicle market has resulted in much greater availability of late model New Zealand new cars at affordable prices. Used car buyers no longer need to settle for an import, and the reduced change-over cost is driving continuing growth in new vehicle sales."

Toyota sales surged in June to take a substantial lead over Ford year to date, but Ford is still narrowly hanging on to passenger car leadership.

GM's Australian-made Holden Commodore remains New Zealand's most popular new vehicle.