NZ new vehicle sales at 34 year high in April

Registrations increased 7 percent to 9,939 in April from a year earlier.

New Zealand new vehicle sales in April rose to the highest level for the month in 34 years, led by record demand for commercial models.

Registrations increased 7 percent to 9,939 in April from a year earlier, marking the strongest April since 1982, according to the Motor Industry Association. Commercial vehicle registrations rose 8.1 percent to 3,150, the highest ever recorded for the month of April, while passenger vehicle registrations gained 6.5 percent to 6,789, the strongest level for the month since 1989.

New Zealand vehicle sales have hit annual records for the past two years, and so far this year sales are tracking 4 percent ahead of the same period last year. Vehicle sales are being underpinned by a growing economy bolstered by record migration and tourism as rivalry keeps a lid on prices.

"Healthy regional economies in Auckland and Christchurch combined with continued strong net immigration and competitive pricing drove the strongest new vehicles registrations in the month of April since 1982," said MIA chief executive David Crawford.

"Since January 2012, when comparing growth for the same month a year earlier, the passenger sector has seen growth in 50 out of 52 months and for the commercial sector it has been 46 out of 52 months," he said.

Japanese car maker Toyota was the top selling brand in April, with 15 percent market share, followed by Ford with 13 percent, and Holden on 8 percent.

The three top-selling models for April were all light commercial vehicles, reflecting continued strong demand for 4x2 and 4x4 utes, the MIA said. The Kia Sportage was the top-selling model, with a 4 percent share, followed by the Mazda CX-5 and the Toyota RAV4, both on 3 percent.