Fewer selling days and school holidays resulted in New Zealand's April new vehicle sales being lower than the record March figure, but the total of 7,047 delivered (5,206 cars and 1,841 commercials) was nonetheless 11.8% ahead of April last year.

Year to date, 30,023 new vehicles have already been sold, 11.2% ahead of the same period in 2003.

"The 2,000 unit margin over last year's sales that was achieved in the first quarter has now extended to over 3,000 after four months," said Perry Kerr, CEO of the Motor Industry Association.

"The new vehicle market is now well into its third year of uninterrupted double-digit growth, and if the current pattern continues we could well see a 100,000 plus new vehicle market in New Zealand this year, a level that hasn't been reached since 1989."

The top three distributors remain locked in a tight battle, with Toyota taking a slender YTD lead in new car sales and maintaining control of total vehicles with another strong commercial vehicle performance. Less than 130 units separate Toyota, Ford and Holden in passenger car sales with a third of the year gone.

In individual model sales, the usual order resumed - GM Holden's Commodore, Ford's Falcon and Toyota's Corolla.