New Zealand's new vehicle market hit record numbers of registrations in January, according to the country's Motor Industry Association (MIA). Industry data showed that 13,823 new vehicles were registered in January, which was 16% higher than January 2016. The majority of new vehicles sold in New Zealand are to business and fleet buyers.

This was the strongest-ever start to a new sales year, according to the MIA, which attributed the growth to a strong national economy, a robust car rental market driven by a vibrant tourism industry, and an ongoing influx of immigrants into the country who require transportation.

In addition, new-vehicle registrations in New Zealand are supplemented by large numbers of used-vehicle imports, predominantly from Japan.

In comparison to neighboring Australia, the fleet market in New Zealand is relatively small due to a population of only 4.5 million people.

Regardless of size, New Zealand is a mature fleet market with more than 90% of businesses classified as small and medium enterprises. The average fleet size in New Zealand ranges from 20 to 30 vehicles, with vehicles operated on both the North and South islands. The majority of units are domiciled on the more populous North Island.

The key vocational markets (fit for purpose) in New Zealand are construction (trucks and LCVs), forestry industries, and dairy. Other key fleet buyers in New Zealand are multinationals and the government.

Company ownership is prominent in the traditionally conservative New Zealand market; however, leasing is becoming increasingly popular with businesses with an international ownership model.

Current vehicle depreciation trends in New Zealand see the large car segment continuing to contract.

As with Australia, sales in the SUV segment in New Zealand are strong. There is a buying trend to downsize to smaller displacement engines, going from six- to four-cylinders, and a segment shift to more compact SUVs.

Fleet order-to-delivery times for new-vehicle orders range from one to three months, depending on the model.

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