New Zealand's Motor Industry Association said registration data for March 2017 showed growth in the new vehicle sector continued "to surpass expectations".

Year to date volume was up 15% year on year to 39,477. Monthly registrations rose 14.5% to a March-best 13,869 vehicles.

Passenger car and SUV registrations rose 12.7% to 9,230 units while commercial vehicle registrations were up 18.4% to 4,639 units.  

"Not only was it the first time since the MIA began collating commercial vehicle registration data in 1981, that registrations of heavy vehicles broke through the 4,000 mark in the month of March, it was also the single largest month of all time," said MIA CEO David Crawford. 

Toyota remained the overall market leader last month with 17% share followed by Ford (11%) and GM's Holden (8%). 

Toyota was also the market leader for passenger and SUV registrations with 13% share followed by Mazda (10%) and Suzuki (8%).

In the commercial sector, Toyota was again market leader with 24% followed by Ford (19%) and Holden (8%) market share.

The Ford Ranger was again best selling vehicle model last month followed by the rival Toyota Hilux and Corolla.

Year to date the SUV medium segment accounted for 16% of the market, followed by Pick Up/Chassis Cab 4×4 utes (12%) and SUV large segment (12%) share.

Year to date, SUVs have accounted for 40% of new vehicle registrations.