NZ new vehicle sales rise to a record in May, led by commercial models

Registrations jumped 11 percent to 11,180 in May from a year earlier.

New Zealand new vehicle sales rose to an all-time high in May, led by record demand for commercial models.

Registrations jumped 11 percent to 11,180 in May from a year earlier, marking the strongest May since the Motor Industry Association began collating the data in 1975. Commercial vehicle registrations rose 15 percent to 3,678, the highest ever recorded for the month of May, while passenger vehicle registrations gained 9.7 percent to 7,502.

New Zealand vehicle sales have hit annual records for the past two years, and so far this year sales are tracking 5.3 percent ahead of the same period last year. Vehicle sales are being underpinned by a growing economy bolstered by record tourism and migration. About half of new migrants are heading to Auckland, bolstering activity in the local economy.

"Strong net immigration continues to be a key driver of increased registrations of new vehicles, along with Auckland's booming regional economy," MIA chief executive David Crawford said in a statement.

The three top-selling models for May were all light commercial vehicles, reflecting continued strong demand for 4x2 and 4x4 utes, the MIA said. The SUV segment accounted for 35 percent of vehicle registrations in the month, followed by the pick up/chassis segments with a 24 percent share.

The Ford Ranger was the top selling commercial model for May, with a 21 percent market share, and was also the top selling model overall for the month. The Toyota Hilux was the second-best selling commercial vehicle, followed by the Holden Colorado.

The Toyota Corolla was the top-selling passenger model for the month, with a 4 percent share, followed by the Toyota RAV4 and the Mazda CX-5.