It's been a tough couple of years for the motor vehicle industry with sales of new vehicles taking a hammering - but the dark clouds have started to lift.
New vehicles sales figures for October show a continuing improvement, with the combined passenger and commercial markets reaching the second-highest number of sales for the year.
Reinforcing those numbers was the continuing growth in year-to-date sales locally.
To the end of September sales had ramped up 27 per cent from 431 units in the same period last year to 548 units this year.
Leading sellers so far this year have been Toyota (95 units), followed by Ford and Suzuki (75 apiece), Holden (56), Mazda (55) and Kia (39).
Richard Nessling, Wanganui Toyota dealership manager, told the Chronicle that improved sales figures were not just confined to new vehicles.
"Used cars have been going gangbusters for us lately," Mr Nessling said.
He said overall sales translated into a 50 per cent average increase in both new and used vehicles.
"And we just secured a fleet seal for 18 new Hiace vans which was signed off on Friday so that's certainly helped."
Mr Nessling said the improved figures had been helped by a raft of new Toyota product coming on stream and meant the dealership was still No1 overall in terms of sales in the city.
Mark Quirk, dealer principal and CEO of Wanganui Motors, said last October's sales had been a good one for his company.
"And that's right across all three brands we carry here - Ford, Mazda and Hyundai," Mr Quirk said, "but Ford especially has enjoyed a very good run."
He said a standout in terms of product had been sales of the Ranger ute.
Mr Quirk said the motor industry had been challenging over the past two years "but the last few months have been much better for us".
"And we've been able to take on a couple more staff which is good."
He said interest had been spread across both private and business buyers.
But it was not only new vehicles where sales had been humming.
"Used cars, especially medium-sized vehicles between $15,000 and $25,000, have been pretty popular," Mr Quirk said.
Motor Trade Association (MTA) said the number of new vehicles sold nationally increased for the second month in a row, with 9388 new units sold overall, up 698 (8 per cent) on the September figure.
This represented a 34 per cent increase on the 7026 new vehicles sold in October last year.
Year to date, total new vehicle sales are up 19 per cent, which the MTA said was a positive economic signal.
Top selling passenger car brands:
Toyota - 1862 units (25 per cent market share)
Ford - 928 units (13 per cent)
Holden - 720 units (10 per cent).
Top selling passenger car :
Toyota Corolla (846 units)
Ford Focus (344)
Suzuki Swift (299).
Top selling commercial vehicle brands:
Toyota - 585 (29 per cent)
Ford - 261 units (13 per cent)
Nissan - 227 units (11 per cent).
Top selling commercial vehicle models:
Toyota HiLux (334 units)
Toyota Hiace (232)
Nissan Navara (208).