New vehicle sales in New Zealand during February fell behind the pace set in January to 7,482 units, but year to date, new car sales of 12,582 were 2.6% ahead of January and February 2006.

5,790 new cars were sold in February and, although this was 1,002 units less than January’s figure, it was nonetheless the third strongest February since 1990. New commercial vehicle sales in February totalled 1,692, eight units behind January and underlining the consistent performance of this segment over the last four years.

“The year has started pretty well for the new vehicle industry,” said Motor Industry Association CEO Perry Kerr. “Although February didn’t quite match the January rate, we’re expecting another good performance in the traditionally strong month of March.”

Toyota, at 2,872 units is already well ahead of the other players in the total vehicle market (GM Holden is next with 2,022) but, in passenger cars Honda (1,233) holds a surprising third place ahead of Ford (1,204) after two months of the new year.

Holden’s Commodore (1,052) has taken a narrow YTD lead over Toyota’s Corolla (982) in the individual model stakes – in the first two months of the year each has sold well over double the volume of the third-placed Ford Australia Falcon (434).