The Motor Trade Association is predicting car sales will continue to drop next year.
Figures from Statistics New Zealand show a dramatic slump in vehicle sales pushed down overall retail figures for October.
It says the 14.5% fall in car purchases represents a loss of $90 million to the industry.
The association says that mainly affected used, imported vehicles, but November figures show new car sales have also plummeted for the first time in years.
Spokesperson Andy Cumming says the situation will not improve quickly.
He says new car sales in November were more than 34% behind October levels, and 27% below the same month last year.