Sales of rental vehicles and EVs pushed New Zealand new vehicle sales to a September record of 14,525 units, up 4.2% year on year.
Five hundred pure electric vehicles were sold last month plus 105 PHEVs.
Reflecting similar success in the much larger UK market (c.2m a year) in August, for the first time ever, registrations of a pure electric vehicle broke into the NZ top three passenger/SUV model chart with 359 Tesla Model 3s sold in September.
But, after some slow months during the southern hemisphere winter, year to date sales remained down – by 4% year on year to 114,593.
"September continued the up and down pattern in the 2019 market," said Motor Industry Association (MIA) chief executive David Crawford.
"In addition to strong sales of EVs, some distributors had a good month with [GM] Holden rocketing up the sales charts and Toyota enjoying a massive September mainly off the back of rental sales."
Year to date, 1,406 new pure electric vehicles have been registered compared to 768 units in all of 2018.
Registration of 10,322 passenger and SUVs for September 2019 was up 9.4% year on year while commercial vehicle registrations of 4,203 were down 6.1%.
The top models in September were the Toyota Corolla (1011 units), Ford Ranger (814) and Toyota Hilux (603).
Toyota remained overall market leader with 21% share, followed by Holden (9%) and Ford (also 9%).
Toyota also led passenger and SUV registrations with 22% market share followed by Holden (8%) and Hyundai (7%).
The top selling passenger and SUV models were the Corolla (1011 of which 736 were rentals) followed by the Toyota Yaris (432) and the surprise Tesla Model 3 (359 ).
In commercial vehicle sales, Ford regained market lead with 21% share followed by Toyota (19%) and Holden (11%).
The Ford Ranger retained the top spot as the bestselling commercial model with 19% followed by the Hilux (14%) and the Holden Colorado (11%.
The top three segments in September were SUV medium vehicles (18% share), SUV Compact (14%) and small passenger (12%).
It was the first month in several years that sales of Pick Up/Chassis 4×4 segment have not been in the one of the top three selling segments.
Reflecting their brand's strength in the rental market, the top four rental models year to date are the Corolla (1,877), RAV4 (555), the Yaris (494) and the Land Cruiser Prado (383).
The September results contrasted with those for August when, for the fourth consecutive month, fewer new vehicles were sold year on year, confirming the MIA said, "the overall market for the year will be down on 2018".
August sales were 4.5% lower at 12,607 while year to date sales were down 5.1% to 100,105.
"Growth has disappeared from the 2019 market and we are expecting an out turn for 2019 at about 6% below 2018 levels," Crawford said as August data was released.
Registration of 8,506 passenger and SUVs in August 2019 were down 1.5% on 2018 volume while commercial vehicle registrations of 4,101 were down 10.1%.
The top two models for the month of August were 'utes', with the Ford Ranger continuing its hold on the top spot (733), followed by the Toyota Hilux (690) and RAV4 (468).
Toyota remained overall market leader with 19% market share followed by Ford (9%) and Mitsubishi (8%).
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