New car sales in New Zealand in November rose 7% year on year to 6,723 units.

The country's Motor Industry Association (MIA) said this was the strongest November for 18 years. New commercial vehicle sales rose 19.7% to 2,234, the best result for the month since 1982.

Year to date new vehicle sales were up 2.5% to 95,204 and, the MIA said, "2007 is on target to challenge 2005 as the biggest year for new vehicles since the market started recovering from the effect of used imports".

"The new vehicle sector continues to push ahead with confidence," said MIA CEO Perry Kerr. "This isn't just a reflection of the state of the economy, but a long-term structural change as the market continues to move away from the influence of used car imports which had such a major impact during the nineties. Those days are now behind us."

Toyota remained market leader in both passenger car and commercial vehicle sales, but Ford was just two passenger car units behind last month. GM Holden's Commodore stretched its lead over the Toyota Corolla as the country's top-selling individual model year to date, although the Ford Falcon took November honours.