The Ministry of Transport’s models and datasets (except for crash analyses), including vehicle fleet statistics, the Transport Dashboards, and the Vehicle Fleet Emissions Model, classify road vehicles into five vehicle type categories: light passenger vehicles, light commercial vehicles, motorcycles, heavy trucks, and buses. This vehicle type categorisation may be different from that found in the publications of the New Zealand Transport Agency, although the Motor Vehicle Register (MVR) is the primary data source for both organisations.
In the Ministry of Transport’s vehicle type categorisation, light vehicles (those with a gross vehicle mass up to 3500 kg) have been categorised into light passenger vehicles and light commercial vehicles. This categorisation is consistent with international standards, such as the EMEP/EEA air pollutant emission inventory guidebook
However, it is important to note that the distinction between light passenger vehicles and light commercial vehicles is based on the (body) type of the vehicle, not its ownership or use. Both light passenger vehicles and light commercial vehicles may be owned and used by private households or commercial enterprises.
The table below shows the correspondence between the specific motor vehicle types used in the motor vehicle register and the Ministry of Transport’s vehicle type categories.
Ministry of Transport
vehicle type category
Register vehicle type
|Light Passenger Vehicles
|Up to 3500 kg
|Light Commercial Vehicles
|Up to 3500 kg
|Bus (including minibus)
|Over 3500 kg
Over 3500 kg
Special purpose vehicle
Vehicles that are exempt from licensing (typically those used off road) and vehicles that may be licensed, but are not road-worthy (such as those with restoration licences) are not included in the Ministry of Transport’s statistics.
Vehicles classified in the Motor Vehicle Register as buses, but weighing 3500 kg or less are counted as light commercial vehicles as they are usually physically identical to vans.
A small number of vehicles are classified as ‘miscellaneous'. These are generally not included in the Ministry of Transport’s statistics. Many of these vehicles are exempt from licensing.