The State of New Zealand’s Car Market: July 2023

AutoTrader NZ
Published 5 August 2023

Understanding the car market can be vital when planning your next vehicle purchase. In this article, we cover:

  • The surge in sales in June 2023
  • July's dip following the Clean Car regulations
  • February's weather-related market impact
  • The effect of Auckland's floods
  • Electric vehicle trends and the Clean Car Fee/Rebate scheme

February 2023 - Weather's Impact on the Market

The early part of the year was marked by significant disruptions. Cyclone Gabrielle and February's floods resulted in new vehicle registrations falling by 23.7% to 9541. Passenger and SUV registrations were down by 18.1% (1386 units), and commercial vehicles were down by 32.4% (1574 units). The impact of the weather conditions made it the lowest February since 2014.

Imported used vehicles were also affected, down over a quarter year-on-year, with commercial registrations experiencing a staggering 45.5% drop. If you were considering commercial options, this would have affected the availability of commercial vehicles.

Auckland's Floods - Responding to Devastation

Auckland’s floods have left a mark, but dealerships have swiftly adapted to deal with the inflow of damaged vehicles, scaling up their capacity. Hundreds, if not thousands, of cars were processed through the usual channels, with additional auction sessions added to cope with demand. This effort reflected the industry's resilience and maintained a consistent supply for consumers.

June 2023 - Record Sales and the Clean Car Rebate Scheme

June 2023 was marked by a surge in car sales, driven by the impending Clean Car Fee/Rebate scheme. This regulation led to a rush to register vehicles before the July 1 deadline. June saw a historic growth, particularly in electric vehicles. Those interested in EVs found June an excellent month for investment.

July 2023 - A Cool Down in Sales

July witnessed a market slowdown, with registrations of new passenger vehicles falling 46% year on year to 4347 units. Only Ford and Lexus saw increases, thanks to their supply of electrified vehicles. The Clean Car Fee/Rebate scheme changes created a turning point after a record June. If you were looking for opportunities, certain brands such as Lexus offered potential deals.

Electric Vehicles - A Growing Trend

The trend towards electric vehicles has been undeniable. Toyota had a sales volume of 3009 cars, a 1% increase from the previous year. Models like the Toyota Aqua and Prius were top performers, with 1196 and 697 registrations, respectively. Mazda and Honda also had significant shares, but brands like Subaru were down by 51.8%. Exploring electric vehicles has never been more promising.

Used Imports - Opportunities for Buyers

Used imports offer unique opportunities, despite a general slump in February. Toyota led in commercials with a 36.5% market share but suffered a 47.3% decrease from the previous year. Popular models like the Toyota Hiace and Nissan NV350 continued to perform well. Exploring these options might yield unexpected gems.


The New Zealand car market in 2023 has been dynamic and filled with opportunities and challenges. The introduction of the Clean Car Fee/Rebate scheme, the rise of electric vehicles, the market's response to weather impacts, and fluctuations in both new and used car markets offer valuable insights for potential buyers. An understanding of these trends can guide you towards an informed buying decision. From the latest electric model to a reliable used import, the choices are vast and exciting. Happy car hunting!

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