Top Selling Cars in New Zealand

Kiwis love their cars, but what car do we love the most? Canstar takes a look at the top selling cars in New Zealand.

Top Selling Cars in New Zealand: What’s the story?

Kiwis love cars. For a country of a little over 5 million, we have approximately just under 4.5 million cars. Factor in those people without licences, and we have well over a car per legal driver. These figures have been growing by the year; there are now an extra one million more cars on our roads than just ten years ago.

And our appetite for new cars has shown no signs of slowing down. Year after year the number of new cars registered on our roads grows. After a bumper 2021 (112,008 new registrations) in 2022, despite supply chain issues impacting deliveries, there were 116,334 new passenger vehicles registered on our roads. And that’s not even counting the Ford Ranger (11,577) and Toyota Hilux (9787), the two most popular cars last year, which fall into the commercial category.

But while utes continue to dominate New Zealand sales charts, 2022 was also a bumper year for EV sales.

In 2022, there was a record 15,670 new pure electric vehicles registered in New Zealand. That figure means that over 13% of all new passenger vehicles on our roads were fully electric.

Expand that figure to include both hybrids and plug-in hybrids, and nearly 35% of all new passenger vehicles sold were electrified. Notably, the Tesla Model Y finished the year as the third most popular new vehicle (4226), despite only arriving in August.

Of course, these stats ignore commercial vehicle sales, which present a more challenging problem for electric and low-emission vehicles. Although 2022 did see the first fully electric ute, the LDV eT60, land on our shores.

In this article

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Top selling cars: Mitsubishi Outlander
Mitsubishi Outlander: NZ’s top selling passenger vehicle for the past two years.

Top 10 selling car models New Zealand

In 2022, SUVs continued to rule the road, and they dominate the top selling cars for the year.

The Mitsubishi Outlander has been the top selling passenger/SUV in the country for the past two years. And it’s not hard to see why. 

The popular SUV features all the comfort and safety of a large family vehicle, at a starting price around $42,000. PHEV options are also available, starting around $63,000, although they do qualify for the current $4025 clean-car discount.

Top Selling Cars 2022
1 Mitsubishi Outlander (9104)
2 Toyota RAV4 (5863)
3  Tesla Model Y (4226)
4 Suzuki Swift (3932)
5 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross (3657)
6 MG ZS (3377)
7 Mitsubishi ASX (3372)
8 Kia Sportage (3111)
9 Toyota Corolla (2790)
10 Tesla Model 3 (2781)
Swift RS Two-Tone from $30,500+ORC

In October the RAV 4 reclaimed its place in the number one spot, knocking out the Tesla Model Y. Mitsubishi Outlanders were being snapped up in droves throughout October, with 529 sales bringing it up into second place.

October was a great month for Toyota in general, with three models in the top five spots. The Corolla Cross and Yaris Cross took out third and fourth place, respectively.

Top Selling Cars 2023 Top Selling Cars, October 2023
1 Toyota RAV4 (5798) 1 Toyota RAV 4 (1103)
2 Suzuki Swift (3152) 2 Mitsubishi Outlander (529)
3 Tesla Model Y (2895) 3 Toyota Corolla Cross (368)
4 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross (2687) 4 Toyota Yaris Cross (359)
5 MG ZS (2628) 5 MG 4 (357)
6 Mitsubishi Outlander (2616) 6 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross (311)
7 BYD Atto 3 (2159) 7 Kia Niro (294)
8 Hyundai Tucson (1710) 8 BYD Atto 3 (246)
9 Kia Niro (1606) 9 Kia Seltos (240)
10 Hyundai Kona (1512) 10 Suzuki Swift (201)

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Looking for great value car insurance for you and your family? Each year, we release our car insurance awards, including winners for Insurer of the Year, Outstanding Value, and Most Satisfied Customers. As part of our award results, we also publish our Outstanding Value Star Ratings, covering car insurance for different age groups. Below are our top rated providers in the 30-40 driver category. Click here to view our complete car insurance Star Ratings for all age groups.

Comprehensive Cover: 30- to 49-year-old Driver:

Provider Star Rating

See here for our ratings methodology. The table above is an abridged version of our research. For the full results of our latest Car Insurance Ratings and Award, click here.

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Top 10 selling electric car models New Zealand

While Kiwis are buying bigger cars, we are also thinking more about the impact those cars are having on the environment. For example, many of the SUVs mentioned above offer hybrid or full EV models. Climate change concerns and petrol prices are increasing the appeal of electric vehicles. And the Government’s Clean Car Discount only adds to the attraction.

As mentioned above, EV and hybrid cars had a mammoth year in 2022, accounting for just over a third of all new car registrations. Furthermore, it’s an achievement that came in the face of months of supply chain issues that left EV manufacturers failing to meet demand. So, if anything, the figures could have been much higher.

So it will be interesting to see how the electrification of our car fleet continues as the year progresses.

So far this year, car sales have broken down into:

  • 31% petrol
  • 32% diesel
  • 37% electric/hybrid

And here are the top selling models:

Top Selling EVs 2022 Top Selling EVs 2023 Top Selling EVs | October 2023
1 Tesla Model Y (4226) 1 Tesla Model Y (3034) 1 MG 4 (357)
2 Tesla Model 3 (2781) 2 BYD Atto 3 (2405) 2  BYD Atto 3 (246)
3 BYD Atto 3 (1685) 3 MG ZS (1454) 3 Nissan Leaf (165)
4 MG ZS EV (1106) 4 Tesla Model 3 (746) 4 Tesla Model Y (139)
5 Polestar 2 (818) 5 Kia EV6 (736) 5 MG ZS (122)
6 Hyundai Kona EV (814) 6  MG 4 (703) 6  BYD Dolphin (113)
7 Kia EV6 (683) 7 Kia Niro (593) 7 GWM Ora/Volkswagen ID.4 (97)
8 Hyundai Ioniq 5 (483) 8 Hyundai Ioniq (441) 8 Kia EV6 (69)
9 Peugeot 208 (358) 9 Hyundai Kona (406) 9 Polestar 2 (60)
10 Kia Niro (332) 10 Polestar 2 (395) 10 Mini Hatch (54)

*This list includes total electric vehicles (BEV) only, petrol-electric hybrids (PHEV) are not included.

EVs: cheap to run, more expensive to buy

It’s clear that EV fans tend to have deep pockets, as mid- to high-end vehicles continue to dominate EV sales.

The Tesla Model Y is upwards of $67,000 for the base model, while the Volkswagen ID.4 and Kia EV6 start in the low to mid $70,000s. 

→Related article: Best Hybrid Cars in New Zealand

GWM Ora, from $42,990 + ORC

The most popular car so far this year is the Tesla Model Y, which starts around $67,500+ORC. But even with the $7015 clean car discount, that’s a price tag over $60,000.

Currently, the cheapest EV in the country is the GWM Ora, which has a price tag more in line with the mid-range petrol cars on the overall Top 10 Selling Cars list. The GWM Ora is $42,990, but drops to under $36,000 with a full Clean Car Discount.

Also at the bottom end of the EV price range is the MG 4, which is available from $46,990 (+ ORC).

However, the new government plans to make sweeping changes to the Clean Car Discount by the end of the year, removing many of the financial incentives and penalties associated with purchasing EVs and utes.

It’s also important to note that from March 31, 2024, EV users will also have to pay the road user charge (RUC), which will significantly increasing the cost of operating an EV.

RUC fees go towards maintaining and improving the road network, and are currently paid by those who drive diesel vehicles. Petrol vehicle drivers pay their part through tax on gas. However, from April 2024, EV car drivers will also have to contribute to the road network by paying RUCs. Currently, the RUC is priced at $76 per 1000km, which will increase the cost of using an EV to get around.

You can find more information about the upcoming changes for EVs here.

Looking for a Great Car Loan?

The table below displays some of the unsecured personal loan products available on Canstar’s database for a three-year loan of $10,000 in Auckland (some may have links to lenders’ websites). The products are sorted by Star Rating (highest to lowest) followed by company name (alphabetical). Use Canstar’s personal loan comparison selector to view a wider range of products on Canstar’s database. Canstar may earn a fee for referrals.

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New Zealand’s favourite passenger car brands

Japanese brands have long been the top selling cars in NZ, especially if you also count commercial vehicles. Between them, Toyota and Mitsubishi share nearly a third of the market in the year so far.

However, while Japanese brands hold a larger share of the market, Korea’s Kia and Hyundai are gaining ground. But it’s newer brands like Tesla and MG that have been making an impression on Kiwi consumers recently. It will be interesting to see how they perform over the coming 12 months.

New car registrations by brand, no. sales and market share %:

Top Selling Brands 2022 Top Selling Brands 2023 Top Selling Brands, October 2023
1 Mitsubishi 17,256 (15%) 1 Toyota 17,159 (19%) 1 Toyota 2683 (27%)
2 Toyota 16,992 (15%) 2 Kia 9200 (10%) 2 Kia 1125 (10%)
3 Kia 11,170 (10%) 3 Mitsubishi 8511 (9%) 3 Mitsubishi 987 (10%)
4 Suzuki 8427 (7%) 4 Hyundai 6039 (7%) 4 MG 594 (6%)
5 Hyundai 7648 (7%) 5 Suzuki 5893 (7%) 5 Ford 569 (6%)
6 Tesla 7007 (6%) 6 MG 4405 (5%) 6 Hyundai 495 (5%)
7 MG 5316 (5%) 7 Ford 4034 (4%) 7 Suzuki 405 (4%)
8 Mazda 5284 (5%) 8 Tesla 3780 (4%) 8 Mazda 373 (4%)
9 Honda 3828 (3%) 9 Mazda 3343 (4%) 9 BYD 359 (4%)
10 Ford 3171 (3%) 10 Honda 2892 (3%) 10 Nissan 307 (3%)

Searching for the Cheapest Personal Loan?

If you’re looking for the cheapest personal loan, Canstar’s personal loan comparison tables can help. The table below displays the sponsored unsecured personal loan products available on Canstar’s database for a three-year loan of $10,000 in Auckland, with links to lenders’ websites. Use Canstar’s personal loan comparison selector to view a wider range of products on Canstar’s database. Canstar may earn a fee for referrals.

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About the author of this page

This report was written by Canstar Content Producer, Caitlin Bingham. Caitlin is an experienced writer whose passion for creativity led her to study communication and journalism. She began her career freelancing as a content writer, before joining the Canstar team.

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