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2023 record year for low emission vehicles.

Unsurprisingly, 2023 was a record year for new Low Emission Vehicles (LEV) with the Motor Industry Association reporting the 59,952 registrations a 45 percent increase over 2022.
 |  Jack Biddle  |  , ,
Toyota EV

With the Clean Car Discount scheme on the chopping block, December was the last chance for consumers wanting to take advantage of the previous Government’s financial handout.  The end result was a staggering 72.5% market share of the total registrations for the month going to the LEV corner.   

In comparison but once again unsurprisingly, the Light Commercial sector took something of a beating with December registrations plummeting to a grand total of just 624 units, 63.9% lower (2,131 units) than December 2022 and 73.5% lower than December 2021. 

The obvious reason for the drop in light commercial sales in December was because from January 2024, there is no Clean Car Discount fees to pay so the majority of the buying public kept their hands buried deep into their pockets waiting for the new year to roll in. With 2024 now in full swing, we can sit back and watch a predicted real surge in high emission diesel ute registrations. 

While some will see this as a backward step in the effort to reduce tailpipe emissions in New Zealand moving forward, the new vehicle industry as a whole will at least have some stability and normality about it. They know the long-term rules and regulations they are now working under and can plan accordingly. After all, they don’t make the rules but taking advantage of every opportunity is what they do best.    

Bottom line is, under the new coalition Government, the Low Emission Vehicles are definitely here to stay, but the utes aren’t leaving town anytime soon either.  


Both segments will continue to launch and market new and improved product during the year but now with a new twist and focus from the previous 12 months. New Vehicle distributors of LEV, especially those with fully electric models in their stable, will need to come up with new strategies with no Clean Car Discount rebate on offer to entice potential buyers into showrooms; while it’s a much easier sell for the diesel markets due to the dirty diesel fee hurdle being removed completely.  

Overall, once again Toyota continued to be market leaders in total passenger vehicle sales for 2023 with a 21.7% market share and 32,359 units out the door. They were followed by Ford with 10.90% market share and 16,178 units sold and Mitsubishi with 9.0% and 13,401units registered.

Total Industry sales by motive power for 2023 were:21,621 BEVs (14.5% market share), 8,988 PHEVs (6.0%market share), 29,343 Hybrids (19.7% market share) and 89,054 Internal Combustion Engine vehicles (59.8% market share).

Non-Plug in Hybrid Vehicle (HEVs):Top 3 models : Toyota RAV4 (6,001 units and 20.5% market share), then Toyota Corolla (2,246units and 7.6% market share) and Honda Jazz (1,958 units, 6.7% market share).

Plug in Hybrid Vehicle (PHEVs):Top 3 models: Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross (2,777 units, 30.9% market share), then Mitsubishi Outlander (1,934 units and 21.5% market share) and Kia Sorrento (718 units, 8.0% market share).

Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs):Top 3 models: Tesla Model Y (3,936 units, 18.7% market share), then BYD ATTO 3 (3,171units, 15.1% market share) and MG 4 (1,793 units, 8.5% market share).

Light passenger models: Top 3 models: Toyota RAV4 (8,757 units) then Mitsubishi Outlander (4,058 units) and Tesla Model Y (3,936 units).

Light Commercial models: Top 3 models: Ford Ranger (9895 units) then Toyota Hilux (8041 units) and Mitsubishi Triton (3094 units).

With the stability the new vehicle market desperately needed now back in full swing, it’s looking like a new beginning for the industry overall. It will be an interesting watch to see if and how market share changes during the year. 

Competitive pricing will no doubt play a huge part in new vehicle distributors plans as will be offering consumers realistic trade-in prices to get a sale across the line.