Used import cars were down 14 per cent from December, and 42 per cent from January last year while the total new car sales figure for the month was only 5425 units.
The sales total for January were however up one per cent from December and it is expected that this figure will continue to rise, in the short term at least, as buyers rush to try and beat the anticipated price rise that will inevitably ensue as a result of the falling NZ dollar.
"Most manufacturers and importers have signalled multiple price rises throughout 2009, from a combination of weakened currency and overseas cost increases," said MTA spokesman Andy Cuming.
"This means that the stock of new cars and used import cars in dealer showrooms at present represented the best opportunities for car buyers looking to beat the price rises".
Used car imports have been falling since the middle of last year due to higher emissions standards being applied.
In January, Toyota had a market share of 19.6 per cent, Ford had 13.3 per cent, Holden had 12.9 per cent and Mazda 8.5 per cent.