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Motor Vehicle Salesperson

Kaihoko Waka Huarahi

Alternative titles for this job

Motor vehicle salespeople sell new or used cars, trucks, and other vehicles.


New motor vehicle salespeople usually earn

$48K-$50K per year

Experienced motor vehicle salespeople usually earn

$50K-$220K per year

Source: Automotive Employment NZ, 2018.

Job opportunities

Chances of getting a job as a motor vehicle salespeople are good as there is a shortage of workers.


Pay for motor vehicle salespeople varies depending on skills, experience and vehicle type.

  • New motor vehicle salespeople usually earn between minimum wage and $50,000 a year.
  • Motor vehicle salespeople with more than one years' experience usually earn between $50,000 to $140,000.
  • Heavy vehicle salespeople and used vehicle buyers usually earn between $75,000 and $220,000.
  • Motor vehicle sales managers can earn up to $220,000.

In addition, motor vehicle salespeople usually earn commission of between 10% and 20% of a vehicle sale.

Source: Automotive Employment New Zealand, 2018.

(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our pay information)

What you will do

Motor vehicle salespeople may do some or all of the following:

  • prepare vehicles for sale
  • help customers decide which vehicles will best suit their needs
  • accompany customers who are test-driving vehicles
  • decide on the trade-in value of the customer's used vehicle
  • collect payment or arrange finance on vehicles
  • arrange vehicle insurance for customers
  • organise advertising and promotions
  • keep a database of customers and potential customers
  • deal with painters, panelbeaters and vehicle parts suppliers.

Skills and knowledge

Motor vehicle salespeople need to have knowledge of:

  • the vehicles they sell
  • new cars on the market, and market trends
  • how vehicle engines work
  • relevant legislation such as the Consumer Guarantees Act and Motor Vehicles Sales Act
  • finance and payment options.

Working conditions

Motor vehicle salespeople:

  • often work long hours, which may include evenings and weekends, and may also be on call
  • work in showrooms and car yards
  • may deliver cars locally and nationally, and those with more experience may travel overseas to look at vehicles for the New Zealand market.

What's the job really like?

Motor vehicle salesperson video

Mark talks about life as a car sales manager – 0:50 mins. (Video courtesy of MITO)

Mark: When I became a sales manager in 2011 I was the youngest one in the country.

It's in the blood. My father has actually been in the industry for a long time as well.

There is a career in vehicle sales. From here we can move forward within the company, or there's the option that I can look at purchasing my own business. It's a long-term goal. I'd like to own something myself.

But the reward you get at the end of the day with shaking someone's hand and saying thanks for your purchase – nothing else like it really. They might be handing over $5,000, $50,000 or $100,000 – it's all the same – you treat everyone the same.

You've just got to make sure that what you're doing is best for the customer and they get the best value and they leave with a smile on their face.

Entry requirements

To become a motor vehicle salesperson you need to have a clean driver's licence.

Secondary education

There are no specific secondary education requirements for this job, but accounting, business studies, English and maths are useful.

Personal requirements

Motor vehicle salespeople need to be:

  • confident dealing with people
  • self-motivated, proactive and resilient
  • friendly, polite, helpful and honest
  • good listeners, to ensure they understand their clients' needs
  • skilled at negotiating and selling
  • good at communicating
  • organised.

Useful experience

Useful experience for motor vehicle salespeople includes:

  • sales work
  • customer service experience
  • vehicle servicing and grooming work.


Motor vehicle salespeople who have their own car dealerships need to be registered on the Motor Vehicle Traders Register (MVTR).

Find out more about training

0800 88 2121 -
Check out related courses

What are the chances of getting a job?

Shortage of experienced motor vehicle salespeople

Job opportunities for motor vehicle salespeople are good as there is a shortage of experienced workers and a strong demand for vehicles, due to:

  • the popularity of cheap, imported new cars
  • availability of electric and hybrid vehicles and the incentive of the Clean Car Discount scheme.

According to the Census, 1,599 motor vehicle salespersons worked in New Zealand in 2018.

Sales experience improves chances of finding work

Employers prefer to take on trainees who already have sales experience as they have limited time to train staff.

Most salespeople work for car dealerships

Motor vehicle salespeople usually work for vehicle dealerships. Some may run their own business.


  • Carroll, D, 'Record-setting 2021 a Huge Year for New Car Sales', 6 January 2022, (
  • Phillips, R, managing director, Automotive Employment NZ Ltd, interview, 5 September 2018.
  • Stats NZ, '2018 Census Data', 2019.

(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our job opportunities information)

Progression and specialisations

Motor vehicle salespeople may progress to set up their own business, or move into managerial roles.

Motor vehicle salespeople may specialise in:

  • selling a particular vehicle type
  • fleet sales
  • importing used vehicles from overseas.
A woman sits in the driving seat of a car while a motor vehicle salesperson shows them the features of the car

Motor vehicle salespeople demonstrate the features of cars they're selling

Last updated 27 March 2024