Speed is believed to have been a factor in a car crash in Invercargill early today which left three teenagers dead and another with serious injuries.

Police said the four male teens were travelling in a modified Honda Civic when it crashed into the side of a commercial building on Leven Street at 12.35am.

Three, aged between 16 and 19, died at the scene while the fourth, aged 16 was taken to hospital with multiple injuries.

Formal identification of the deceased has not yet been completed.

Senior Sergeant Richard McPhail said an area of about a block from where the car crashed remained cordoned off this morning as emergency services freed the remaining occupants and tried to establish what happened.

"Certainly it appears that speed is a factor, but all the factors will be assessed by serious crash investigators on site and there is an inquiry team including criminal investigators looking at this," he told NZPA.

"We are aware from our inquiries that it was travelling at speed north."

The car was extensively damaged in the crash.

Police were urging anyone who saw a car fitting the description in the area around midnight to contact them.