New car registrations fell almost 14 per cent in May from a year earlier, as the local vehicle market continues to slow after successive records in recent years.

Motor Industry Association figures show 12,259 new vehicles were registered in May, down from 14,169 a year earlier. Demand for passenger vehicles was hit harder, down almost 18 per cent at 7,624, while commercial registrations fell 5.3 per cent to 4,635.

"The out turn for May 2019 indicates the new vehicle market is softening, consistent with weaker regional vehicle sales in 2019 across Australia and New Zealand," MIA chief executive David Crawford said in a statement.

New Zealand's vehicle market has been cooling this year, and appears set to end its five-year run of racking up record sales. The market had been buoyed by low interest rates providing cheap finance and a strong kiwi dollar lowering the cost of imports. At the same time a growing population drove demand for vehicles and record tourism numbers encouraged rental car operators to expand their fleets.


In the year to date, 61,715 new vehicles were registered, down from 64,985 a year earlier.

Toyota remains the most popular manufacturer, with a market share of 15 per cent so far this year. That's followed by Ford at 11 per cent, Mitsubishi at 9 per cent, and Mazda and Holden each at about 8 per cent.

Toyota New Zealand generated a record $1.4 billion of revenue in the March 2018 year, with new and used car sales totalling 42,581, according to accounts lodged with the Companies Office. It reported a profit of $21.9 million. That compared to a profit of $21.7m on sales of $1.18b in the March 2017 year.

As a branch of a global group, it purchases the bulk of its products from related parties. In the March 2018 year, that amounted to $1.11b, up from $932.8m a year earlier.

Toyota's revenue is more than twice that of its nearest rival, Ford Motor Company of New Zealand. Ford generated revenue of $630.9m in calendar 2018, generating a profit of $4.2m. That was down from revenue of $636.9m in 2017 and a profit of $8.2m. Its related party purchases totalled $577m in 2018, up from $540.7m a year earlier.