NZ's new vehicle sales surged in 2013

REVVED UP: New Zealand's new vehicle registrations in 2013 were the highest since 1984.
REVVED UP: New Zealand's new vehicle registrations in 2013 were the highest since 1984.

The economy's wheels are spinning after more than 113,000 new vehicles were registered last year, the highest number in nearly 30 years.

Motor Industry Association statistics showed a fourth consecutive record-breaking month of new commercial vehicle registrations and the highest December passenger car sales since 1976.

In total the new vehicle market raced away to 113,294 registrations in 2013, the highest since 1984.

This was up 12.4 per cent on 2012, when 100,795 new vehicles were registered.

There were 2405 commercial vehicles registered in December, a record for the month and up 45.8 per cent on December 2012. New passenger car sales in December totalled 6371.

MIA chief executive David Crawford said the December figures showed a strong finish to the end of a strong year of new vehicle sales.

He said 2013 would probably be remembered "as the year in which the New Zealand economy finally left the starting line on the path to economic recovery from a number of setbacks".

Registrations had dwindled in the past five years, following the impact of the 2008 global financial crisis and supply restrictions after the 2011 floods in Thailand and tsunami in Japan.

In 2009, only 70,048 new vehicles were sold in New Zealand.

Toyota held the highest market share in 2013 for the 26th consecutive year, Crawford said, with its 23,705 vehicles sold representing about 21 per cent of the entire car market.

Ford was second with almost half that number while Holden, Hyundai and Mazda rounded out the top five.

In the commercial vehicle sector the Toyota Hilux just topped the Ford Ranger as the most popular model in New Zealand.

Both recorded sales of about 5000 vehicles in 2013.

BMW was the most popular luxury car, in a segment which grew last year as economic confidence improved.

SUVs were, however, the most popular car type last year, with 30,478 sold.

"SUVs continue to dominate the New Zealand market, as is now the case in most markets, accounting for just over one out of every four sales," Crawford said.

New Zealand's strong performance backs up a vintage 2013 in the global car market, as the Australian industry lauded a record year in which 1,136,227 new vehicles were sold.

It was just the sixth time more than 1 million vehicles were sold in Australia in a calendar year.

In Australia, nearly a third of all vehicles sold are SUVs and Toyota is also the most popular brand.