New Zealand's Motor Industry Association said March 2020 registrations were down 37.3% year on year with 8,317 new vehicles registered compared to March 2019's 13,271 sales.
"March was already slowing due to supply constraints from shut down manufacturing plants around the world and then they ground to a halt when the Covid-19 alert level 4 was implemented. Year to date the market was down 15.6%," the MIA said.
"The prospect for registrations during April remains bleak with the Covid-19 level 4 alert [lockdown] planned to be in place for the majority of the trading month."
Registration of 5,416 passenger and SUVs for March 2020 was down 35.7% (3,009 units) on 2019 volumes.
Pure electric vehicles bucked the trend and were up slightly with 144 units sold in February with PHEVs down to 58 units and 511 hybrids sold.
Commercial vehicle registrations which had been trending down for five previous months were down 40%.
The top models in March were the Ford Ranger (444 units), followed by the Toyota Hilux (435) and the Holden Colorado (370).
Toyota remained overall market leader with 18% market share (1,515 units), followed by Holden with 10% (835) and Mitsubishi with 8% (694).