5 Sep 2014

New car sales on track for record

8:10 pm on 5 September 2014

New vehicle sales are on track to be the highest ever recorded according to the Motor Industry Association.

Some mayors have opted for council cars rather than allowances.

New car sales are on track to be the highest ever this year. Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

The association's figures, which it collects through the Transport Agency, show both passenger and commercial vehicle sales are up 13 percent on last year to date.

Chief executive David Crawford said sales of commercial vehicles, such as vans and trucks, are especially strong.

Mr Crawford said that it is being driven by the strong New Zealand dollar, greater affordability and the continuing economic recovery.

If current sales levels continue there could be 124,000 new vehicles sold in the country this year, he said.

Mr Crawford said that would exceed the previous total of about 123,000 that were sold in 1984 when the industry enjoyed various tax breaks and incentives.

The Automobile Association (AA) said a strengthening economy was behind the buoyant sales.

AA general manager of motoring affairs Mike Noon said car sales reflected people's overall feelings about the economy.

"We have been through a pretty good period this year, with high levels of optimism that the economy is on track or could be improving further."

Mr Noon said having more new cars on the road increases the overall safety of the New Zealand's vehicle fleet.

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