The New Zealand new car market continued its buoyant start to the year with March registrations up 6.9% (420 units) year on year to 6,499 units. Commercial vehicles, however, were down 0.5% (8 units) on the same period to 2,029.

“New passenger car sales continued with their strong start to the year with the first quarter up a very healthy 14.6% (just under 2,500 units) over 2011 [to 19,631 units],” said Perry Kerr, chief executive officer of the Motor Industry Association.

“Again this month members and their dealers will be very happy with the result. The March result was almost on par with last year but, on a year to date basis, the market was down 5.8% (291 units) [to 4,763] which can be directly attributed to the lack of stock of utes [pickup trucks] – the majority being sourced from Thailand which is still rebuilding after last year’s massive floods.”

In the passenger car segment the top three places for the month and year to date were Toyota : 1,005 units March and 3,517 YTD; Hyundai : 674 and 2,074; Holden: 659 and 2,053.

The top selling passenger model for the month was the Holden Cruze (229 registrations) followed by the Suzuki Swift (227) and the Hyundai i30 (206).

Toyota led commercial registrations for March with 504 registrations followed by Ford with 260 and Nissan 254. Year to date. Toyota continued as market leader with 1,142 registrations, Nissan was second with 609 and Ford third with 589.

The Toyota Hilux was in fact the country’s best selling single model in March with 280 registrations followed by the Nissan Navara (242) and Toyota Hiace (209).