Strong new vehicle sales in New Zealand during May ensured that the growth experienced over the last three years continued as 5,871 new cars and 1,867 new commercial vehicles found buyers in the month, each sector well ahead of May 2003.

For the five months year to date new car sales are 11% ahead of the same period last year at 28,515 units, while new commercial vehicle sales of 9,246 are 11.3% ahead.

“The industry continues to experience strong demand for its products in a highly competitive environment,” said Motor Industry Association CEO Perry Kerr. “Although there are signs that conditions are starting to tighten a little, new vehicle buyers continue to show confidence.”

Despite the strong start to the year however, there are signs that a slowing economy will have an effect on the new vehicle market for the remainder of 2004.

“Growth in the car market May on May fell to 5.6%, compared with 16.3% in April and 22.5% in March,” Kerr noted. “Whilst new vehicle buyers are getting the best value products in history, the industry is not immune from economic forces. Given the start we’ve had though, 2004 should still be a very good year overall.”

Although Ford took passenger car leadership in May with 960 units, Toyota is continuing to edge ahead in total vehicle sales (6,483 to 5,987).

Ford’s Falcon beat GM Holden’s Commodore to the top selling car spot in May by just six units (509 to 503), but the Commodore (2,557 vs 2,226) is almost 300 ahead year to date.

Top 10 car models to May 2004:

1 Holden Commodore 2,557
2 Ford Falcon 2,276
3 Toyota Corolla 1,539
4 Honda Accord 1,218
5 Ford Mondeo 919
6 Mazda 6 895
7 Nissan Maxima 828
8 Toyota Camry 796
9 Mitsubishi Diamante 609
10 Nissan Pulsar 605