New vehicle sales in New Zealand jumped by 9.5 percent to a record 146,753 last year, the Motor Industry Association (MIA) said Tuesday.
The "wonderful year" for sales was the third record year running, MIA chief executive officer David Crawford said in a statement.
"The new vehicle market for 2016 performed significantly beyond expectations and along the way exceeded every single previous record," said Crawford.
Overall the passenger and SUV market for 2016 was the strongest ever with 102,514 sales, breaking a long-standing record dating back to 1973 when 97,346 passenger vehicles were sold.
Full-year commercial vehicle sales were up 13 percent to a record 44,239.
Last month was the fourth record December in a row, with new vehicle sales up 9.5 percent, or 11,225 vehicles, year on year.
New passenger and SUV (sports utility vehicles) sales of 8,069 in December were up 13.5 percent in December 2015, while new commercial vehicle registrations of 3,156 were up by a marginal 20 vehicles.
Toyota remained the overall market leader for the month of December with 26-percent market share followed by Holden and Ford both with 9 percent.
For the 2016 year, Toyota (18 percent), Ford (11 percent), Holden (10 percent), Mazda (8 percent) and Mitsubishi (6 percent) were the top five overall market leaders.
"The 2016 record year marked a continued shift in buyer preference and market dynamics with, for the first time in New Zealand history, more SUVs being sold than passenger vehicles," said Crawford.