They want these two-litre, or the 1600 or the 1300, sort of vehicles, and they're usually the Corollas and the Nissan Pulsars and all that sort of jazz.Warwick Howie,
Andrew Cook Motors salesman Small second-hand hatchback cars are proving popular in Hawke's Bay, a local car dealer says.
New Motor Trade Association figures show 25,690 used cars changed hands in the region last year, 22 per cent more than during 2011.
More than 15,000 were sold privately.
Andrew Cook Motors salesman Warwick Howie said there was no stand-out model that out-performed the rest.
"With the petrol prices, bigger cars - the six-cylinder cars - [buyers] seem to back off a bit.
"They want these two-litre, or the 1600 or the 1300, sort of vehicles, and they're usually the Corollas and the Nissan Pulsars and all that sort of jazz."
Mr Howie said the oldest car he sold last year was a 1988 model as the dealership also catered for foreign tourists looking for a cheap car to drive out to the orchards.
Nationwide 782,575 used cars changed hands last year - up 23 per cent year-on-year. Most (451,218) were through private sales such as on Trade Me.
MTA spokesman Ian Stronach said the number of new cars imported (100,795) had been steadily growing and now outstripped used imports (81,827).
The Toyota Corolla, Suzuki Swift and Mazda 3 were the highest-selling used imports respectively last year.
Unlike the early 2000s when New Zealand was importing two used imports for every new car, used imports had now dropped off - due to a combination of tougher exhaust emission standards and the proliferation of used cars already in the domestic market, he said.
"We were adding big numbers and the fleet grew rapidly in that period.
"There's almost no [used] trucks being imported [now] because they don't meet the standard, or buses, and they used to be big - small trucks particularly."
Although the number of imported used cars was well short of mid-2000s levels, the vehicles remained a strong part of the local market, Mr Stronach said.
New Zealand still had a problem with holding on to older cars.
"The reason for that is they get to a price point where you go to trade it in or you go to sell it on Trade Me and it's worth a grand or less, the dealer doesn't want it, no one wants it on Trade Me.
"But this car still works and you can still get a warrant reasonably easy, so a lot of New Zealanders are retaining quite old cars.
"You get in, turn the key, it starts most of the time, it's reasonably comfortable, it gets a warrant, it hasn't rusted to bits."
There were between 2.8million and 2.9million licensed light vehicles in the country with an average age of 13 years - "ancient by First-World standards", Mr Stronach said.
Buyers had been favouring newer, more fuel-efficient cars, with a preference for four-cylinder vehicles, he said.
Trade Me spokesman Jeff Hunkin said around 140,000 cars were sold on the site last year.
Toyota, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Ford and Honda were the most popular makes respectively.
Hawke's Bay used-car sales - All of 2012
4556 cars sold from the public to traders (28 per cent increase).
5889 cars sold from traders to the public (29 per cent increase).
15,245 cars sold privately among members of the public (18 per cent increase).
22 per cent year-on-year increase.
National used-car sales
141,766 cars sold from the public to traders (26 per cent increase).
189,591 cars sold from traders to the public (29 per cent increase).
451,218 cars sold privately among members of the public (20 per cent increase).
23 per cent year-on-year increase.- Source: MTA