October 2018 registrations of 16,670 vehicles set a new monthly sales record in New Zealand after last June's 15,985.

Year to date sales were up 1.7% year on year at 159,871 cars and commercial vehicles.

Registrations of 11,767 passenger and SUV vehicles in October were up 5.9% while commercials were up 11% to 4,903 vehicles.

Toyota remained overall market leader with a 30% share (4,998 units, a record month for the brand) due partly to strong rental vehicle sales ahead of the southern hemisphere summer holiday season. GM's Holden was next with 9% (1,435) followed by Ford (8%; 1,288). 

Toyota also topped passenger and SUV registrations with a 33% share followed by Mazda and Holden both with 9%.

In the commercial sector, Toyota also retained market lead with a 23% share  followed by Ford (20%) and Holden (8%).

That strong rental market for Toyota meant it was no surprise the top selling model for October was the Corolla with 1,744 units of which 1,539 were rentals, followed by the RAV4 with 996 units and the Ford Ranger (top selling model most months this year) pushed back to third with 876 units.

Year to date, however, the Ranger was still the top selling model with 8,306 units followed by the Hilux (6,760) and the Corolla (5,830). 

The top three segments for the month of October were all medium to small vehicles, with the SUV medium segment retaining its lead with 18% market share, followed by small vehicles with 16% market share and SUV compact with 13% market share. 

"The strong result in October is off the back of car rental companies renewing their stock and is a vote of confidence by that sector in the strength of the New Zealand tourism market" said Motor Industry Association CEO David Crawford.