Both new car and commercial sales last month in New Zealand were down again on the same month last year, with new car registrations of 5,989 the lowest in July since 2002, the Motor Industry Association (MIA) said.

Year to date, new car registrations at 43,104 are now down on 2005 by just over 1% with commercials (25,623) running 7% behind last year.

"The new vehicle market is continuing to adjust to the pressures being experienced in other sectors of the economy but this down turn must also be taken in the context of the fact that new vehicle sales increased year over year in the period 2000 to 2005," the MIA said in a statement.

Last month, Toyota took top place with total sales of 1,545 vehicles ahead of Ford (1,212) and Holden (717).  Ford led the passenger car sector with 955 vehicles while Toyota led the commercial vehicle market with 690 units.

Large cars took back the top two spots in the individual model stakes with the Australian-made Ford Falcon selling 465 vehicles and the GM Holden Commodore (on run-out ahead of launch of the redesigned VE model), 365.