A buzzing Canterbury has contributed to record car sales last year.
More than 10,750 new passenger vehicles were registered in Christchurch in the year to December, a 33 per cent jump on 2011.
Miles Toyota new vehicle manager Simon Jackson said new vehicle sales were definitely up compared to the two previous years.
"I guess from what Christchurch has been through, it was going to be that way."
Mr Jackson said while Corollas were always a popular model, it depended on the demographics of the dealership's location.
"For us in the South Island, Hilux utilities were also up there in the numbers - 40 to 50 per cent of our sales here are Hilux."
There had been some movement from customers to more fuel efficient models to counter high petrol prices, he said.
"There are a few people who've downsized a wee bit from a mid-size saloon to a smaller hatch."
Things were only expected to get busier as "there's just so much activity in Canterbury at the moment".
New vehicle purchases surged in the last year, with sales topping 100,000 nationwide for only the third time since 1989 - in spite of sluggish trading conditions in many other sectors.
In total, 100,795 new vehicles were purchased in 2012, up 16,155 on 2011, the Motor Trade Association said.
MTA spokesman Ian Stronach said 2012 was considerably stronger than anyone had predicted.
New passenger car sales reached their highest level in five years. Sales were dominated by Toyota, Ford and Holden respectively.
The top selling models were the Toyota Corolla (5324), Suzuki Swift (3321) and Holden Captiva (2506).
New commercial vehicle sales also had a good year, reaching a four-year high with 23,924 sold.
The top commercial models were the Toyota Hilux, Ford Ranger and Nissan Navara.
"While a positive result, the market is really only returning to where it was pre GFC [global financial crisis]."
Mr Stronach said today's buyers had more makes and models to choose from, but New Zealand's overall rate of new vehicle sales still lagged behind that of Australia and the US.
"That in turn provides them with a newer fleet that's cleaner, more efficient and safer than ours."
Sales of used imported passenger vehicles were down 3 per cent to 78,311, but still well ahead of predictions.
Mr Stronach said the market had quickly adjusted to meet revised exhaust emissions standards, with the 'pool of qualifying vehicles' set to expand again this year.
The resurgence in new vehicle sales and greater fuel efficiency did not spill over into the motorcycle market, which suffered the lowest recorded sales since 2003.
There were 5945 new motorcycle registrations nationwide in the year to December, a 7 per cent fall.
The flight towards less powerful mopeds and scooters evident 18 months ago had clearly stopped, with sales down 28 per cent last year, Mr Stronach said.