The New Zealand new car market continued at near-record levels in September as 7,422 new cars were registered making it the strongest month this year.

Sales were 10.2% up on August and 1% lower year on year. Commercial vehicle sales of 1,924 fell 16% behind the seasonal peak, reflecting the softening economy.  YTD car and light commercial sales total 75,367.

In contrast to the continuing strength of the new vehicle market, used imports were again well down on previous years' levels and are now down 17.8% vs 2005 on a year to date basis (95,108 units).

"There's a fundamental shift towards newer vehicles taking place," said Motor Industry Association CEO Perry Kerr. "Buyers are becoming increasingly aware of the value represented by new cars as well as late model New Zealand-new used cars."

Ford (8,376) and Toyota (8,383) are contesting new car sales leadership after Ford took top slot for the last three months, but Toyota remains well in front for total vehicles (13,720 vs 11,065) thanks to its dominance in commercials.

GM Australia's Holden Commodore surged to a huge lead in the individual model stakes in September (834 units), increasing the year to date lead over the Aussie Ford Falcon 3,850 to 3,289.