New Zealand new vehicle sales continued to rise in September as 7,498 new cars and 2,286 new commercial vehicles were sold.

September new car volume rose 4.2% over August and 7.0% year on year, and was the best for the month since 1987. New commercial vehicle sales were down on August and marginally up on September ’04.

Year to date new vehicle sales total 78,319, up 7.1% up on a year ago, and the industry is expecting its first 100,000 new vehicle year since used imports started arriving in volume in the late 1980s. The country’s population recently topped the four million mark.

“The ‘used importers’ are now mainly involved in recycling short-life vehicles at the bottom end of the market, and they are hurting,” claimed Motor Industry Association CEO Perry Kerr in a statement.

“We, representing the new vehicle industry, are confident that we’ve regained the position as the first choice of those seeking value, safety and driving pleasure. There are also increasing numbers of excellent, well-priced New Zealand-new used vehicles in the system to satisfy the needs of those on a tighter budget, and this is what’s helping to drive the renewed confidence in the new vehicle market.”

Toyota led in September, especially in commercials, to establish a commanding 1,170 unit margin over Ford year to date. Toyota’s Corolla trounced the previous best-seller, GM’s Holden Commodore, by almost 100 units for the month, but the Australian-made model is still likely to be New Zealand’s most popular car this year.