Kia has set a sales record in New Zealand in spite of supply problems with its Korean factory.

The carmaker says shortages of some model lines because of worldwide demand are hurting its sales, but it still managed to sell 223 vehicles in New Zealand - including 203 passenger cars - last month, and its 1696 sales for the first eight months of the year equalled those for the whole of last year.

Kia retains its position as the fastest-growing car brand in New Zealand, with almost 100 per cent growth over the first eight months of last year.

"There has been a worldwide rush on smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles recently and several Kia models come into that category, which is certainly putting a constraint on our efforts," says John Keenan, general manager of Kia Motors New Zealand.

"For instance, we have been selling almost every Kia Cerato diesel as soon as it lands in the country and we still can't get enough from the factory.

"We have a similar situation with Rio and Picanto. Local stocks of these models are very low at the moment.

"We have managed to make up some of the shortfall with other models from our range, such as Sportage, Sorento and the new Magentis, but you can only progress so far under these circumstances."

Figures just released by Land Transport New Zealand show that August sales, at 8642, were 602 more than those in July.

However, up to the end of August this year, overall sales were 3.7 per cent down on those in the same period last year.

Toyota New Zealand leads the market after the first eight months with 20.7 per cent of all sales, followed by Ford with 14.4 per cent, Holden with 12.3 per cent, Nissan with 7.1 per cent, Honda with 6.9 per cent, Mitsubishi with 6.1 per cent and Mazda with 6.0 per cent.

In August, Toyota sold 1610 new vehicles for 18.7 per cent of the market. Then came Ford with 1596 (18.5 per cent), Holden with 907 (10.5 per cent), Honda 663 (7.7 per cent), Mazda 571 (6.6 per cent), Nissan with 534 (6.2 per cent) and Mitsubishi with 503 (5.8 per cent).

The Ford Falcon has been one of the best selling new cars over the past two months as Ford runs out the current model in preparation for the facelift.