High petrol prices driving people to downsize their vehicles

High petrol prices are driving Kiwis to downsize their vehicles, according to vehicle sellers.

Vehicle registrations hit a record high of 16,670 in October, taking the total number of new cars on the road so far this year to just over 136,000.

David Crawford, the chief executive of the Motor Industry Association, blames that on high petrol prices forcing Kiwis to sell their gas-guzzlers and replace them with smaller vehicles, as well as rental car companies currently renewing their fleets.

"People who had really large vehicles are going down a size and we're seeing the compact, small and medium segments are growing in popularity."

One of those ditching fossil fuels is Jacky Zeng, who is looking to go electric because he spends too much each week on petrol. He estimates it can be up to $200.

"Electrical vehicle is my preferred one and second is hybrid," said Mr Zeng.

Olive Rose works at Toyota's Greenlane dealership and agrees people don't want the big cars anymore.

"People don't really want to go for the big monsters anymore. They prefer to get something smaller and maybe more fuel economy as well," said Mr Rose.

Most are opting for smaller models that use less fuel, as well as hybrid vehicles. Mr Rose said the Camry model is currently in high demand.

"They've all sold out completely, the stock for them, and there's a lot of backorder on some of them. Some people won't even be getting their vehicles until February if they start ordering now," he said.

The top selling model for the month of October was the Toyota Corolla, but that was driven by sales to car rental companies. The overall year-to-date figures show the top spot goes to the Ford Ranger, followed by the Toyota Hilux.