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

According to the most recent government statistics, from 2012 to 2022, the number of cars, utes and motorbikes on our roads grew by a third, from 3.3m to 4.4m.

And our appetite for new automobiles remains strong, despite the tighter economic climate. The number of new cars sold last year was only slightly down on the previous two years’ figures:

  • 2021: 112,008 new cars
  • 2022: 116,334 new cars
  • 2023: 110,488 new cars

And, these numbers don’t include new utes, which fall into the commercial category. Last year the Ford Ranger (9907 sales) and Toyota Hilux (8054 sales), were, respectively, the first and third most popular new vehicles overall on our roads.

→Related article: Top Selling Utes in New Zealand

So what are the top selling cars in NZ, Canstar takes a look.

In this article

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Toyota RAV4: 2023’s top selling car in NZ

Top 10 selling car models New Zealand

The top-five best selling cars in NZ have been the same for the past two years. However, while sales of the Tesla Model Y, Suzuki Swift and Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross have remained pretty constant over the past two years, their 2023 numbers not far off their 2022 sales – Model Y (4226 sales in 2022), Swift (3932) and Eclipse Cross (3657) – there’s been a big change at the top of the chart.

In 2022, the Mitsubishi Outlander was No.1 (9104 sales) and the Toyota RAV4 No. 2 (5863 sales). However, in 2023, the two swapped places, with the Toyota RAV4 coming out on top!

And straight out of the gate, the RAV 4 has started 2024 with some impressive January sales:

Top Selling Cars 2023 Top Selling Cars, January 2024
1 Toyota RAV4 (8757) 1 Toyota RAV 4 (619)
2 Mitsubishi Outlander (4058) 2 Mitsubishi ASX (438)
3 Tesla Model Y (3936) 3 Mitsubishi Outlander (431)
4 Suzuki Swift (3922) 4 Kia Seltos (310)
5 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross (3638) 5 Ford Everest  (305)
6 BYD Atto 3 (3171) 6 Toyota Highlander (297)
7 MG ZS (3123) 7 Suzuki Swift (284)
8 Toyota Yaris Cross (2310) 8 Toyota Corolla Cross (242)
9 Toyota Corolla (2284) 9 Kia Stonic (236)
10 Honda Jazz (2176) 10 Nissan Qashqai (219)

Compare Outstanding Value Car Insurance with Canstar

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 30-49 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

In 2022, EV and hybrid cars accounted for just over a third of all new car registrations. And last year that percentage increased to 41%. Overall, pure EV models increased from a 10% market share in 2022 to 14.5% in 2023.

Although given the scrapping of the Clean Car Discount, and the introduction of the Road User Charge for PHEV and EV drivers, it will be interesting to see if electric and hybrid sales experience continued growth throughout 2024:

Sales by Engine Type 2023 Sales by Engine Types 2024
30% Diesel 41% Diesel
29% Petrol 36% Petrol
26.5% Hybrid 21% Hybrid
14.5% EV 2% EV

Top selling totally electric vehicle models:

January’s EV numbers are well down on December’s, when the top selling car, the MG 4, shifted 623 units, and the 10th placed car, the Ford Mustang Mach-E sold 90 cars. In a rush to beat the Clean Car Discount shut-off date, a record 3361 EVs were sold in the last month of 2023, compared to a total of just 244 in January.

However, it’s still early days, and there are some interesting new additions to the best-selling EV car list, notably the BYD Seal, and the new EVs from Toyota, the bZ4X, and Subaru, the Solterra:

Top Selling EVs 2022 Top Selling EVs 2023 Top Selling EVs January 2024
1 Tesla Model Y (4226) 1 Tesla Model Y (3936) 1 BYD Seal (31)
2 Tesla Model 3 (2781) 2 BYD Atto 3 (3171) 2  Tesla Model Y  (25)
3 BYD Atto 3 (1685) 3 MG 4 (1793) 3  Toyota bZ4X (23)
4 MG ZS EV (1106) 4 MG ZS (1648) 4 Subaru Solterra (21)
5 Polestar 2 (818) 5 Tesla Model 3 (971) 5 Audi Q4 E-Tron (14)
6 Hyundai Kona EV (814) 6 Kia EV6 (955) 6  BMW i | MG 4 | BMW 4 (12)
7 Kia EV6 (683) 7 Kia Niro (660) 7 BMW X | Ford Mustang Mach-E (9)
8 Hyundai Ioniq 5 (483) 8 Hyundai Kona (597) 8 Kia EV9 (8)
9 Peugeot 208 (358) 9 Hyundai Ioniq (558) 9 BMW 5 | Volvo EX30 (7)
10 Kia Niro (332) 10 Polestar 2 (541) 10 Audi Q4 E-Tron (6)

→Related article: Best Hybrid Cars in New Zealand

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 roughly a third of the market.

However, while Japanese brands hold a large share of the overall market, Korea’s Kia and Hyundai are big players in the passenger sector. But it’s the upstart brands of BYD, MG and Tesla that have made the biggest inroads into the top car charts over the past few years.

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

Top Selling Brands 2022 Top Selling Brands 2023 Top Selling Brands, January 2024
1 Mitsubishi 17,256 (15%) 1 Toyota 21,913 (20%) 1 Toyota 1632 (20%)
2 Toyota 16,992 (15%) 2 Mitsubishi 10,284  (9%) 2 Mitsubishi 1144 (14%)
3 Kia 11,170 (10%) 3 Kia 10,065 (9%) 3 Kia 828 (10%)
4 Suzuki 8427 (7%) 4 Hyundai 7092 (6%) 4 Suzuki 539 (7%)
5 Hyundai 7648 (7%) 5 Suzuki 6817 (6%) 5 Ford 444 (5%)
6 Tesla 7007 (6%) 6 MG 6105 (6%) 6 Nissan 370 (5%)
7 MG 5316 (5%) 7 Ford 5446 (5%) 7 Honda 348 (4%)
8 Mazda 5284 (5%) 8 Tesla 4907 (4%) 8 Mazda 318 (4%)
9 Honda 3828 (3%) 9 Mazda 3829 (3%) 9 Great Wall 297 (4%)
10 Ford 3171 (3%) 10 BYD 3715 (3%) 10 Hyundai 292 (4%)

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.

Compare car loans with Canstar

About the author of this page

Bruce Pitchers

This report was written by Canstar’s Editor, Bruce Pitchers. Bruce has three decades’ experience as a journalist and has worked for major media companies in the UK and Australasia, including ACP, Bauer Media Group, Fairfax, Pacific Magazines, News Corp and TVNZ. Prior to Canstar, he worked as a freelancer, including for The Australian Financial Review, the NZ Financial Markets Authority, and for real estate companies on both sides of the Tasman.

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