The new vehicle most New Zealanders want as the motor industry counts down to what will surely be an all-time record sales year in 2016 is still the Ford Ranger ute (above).
It’s been the No. 1 choice for the past couple of years and continues to go from strength to strength, putting sales distance on the Toyota Hilux and adding a new verse to tales of the Kiwi pick-up truck, first authored by the late Barry Crump.
Ranger’s on-going success headlines another month, another sales record as new vehicle registrations in New Zealand head into virgin territory and an all-time high in a calendar year of around 145,000 units.
At the end of last month 135,544 new cars had been registered this year against the 134,234 in all of 2015. In 2014 at the end of November, 117,605 were on the New Zealand Transport Agency books. Comparing the 11-month sales period in 2014 with 2016 reveals growth of 15 per cent.
Last month was the strongest November on record with 13,740 units, up 18 per cent on the same month last year and 23 per cent on the 11,176 cars registered in November 2014. Motor Industry Association chief executive David Crawford says there is no apparent sign of a slow in sales.
“Registrations of new vehicles are influenced by the economic environment,” he said. “In New Zealand, the market is responding to strong net immigation, low cost of debt, strong regional economies, and a high level of business confidence. These favourable economic conditions are expected to continue into 2017.”
Sales have averaged 12,322 units a month so far in 2016. A similar number in December would mean an overall 147,000 for the year. Toyota remained the overall market leader for November with 17 per cent share (2,80 vehicles), followed by Holden with 11 per cent (1579) and Ford also with 11 per cent (1489 vehicles). Year to date Toyota, Ford, Holden, Mazda and Mitsubishi respectively remain the top five overall leaders.
Ranger’s 7949 registrations at the end of last month were up 41 per cent on the 5626 it recorded at the same time in 2014. Compare Hilux numbers: 5781 last month – 5336 at November 2014. That 8 per cent growth. Holden Colorado’s improvement over the past two years is clearly better than that of Hilux: 3492 to last month – 2742 to November 2014. That’s 27 per cent growth.
The passenger car segment has undergone most change in two years, because of the desire for SUVs. Back in November 2014 Toyota Corolla was the registered leader with 5696 units. Second was the Holden Commodore (2780) and third the Suzuki Swift (2457).
This year, Corolla still led at the end of November with 5370 registrations, but SUVs were in second and third places, the Toyota RAV4 (3044) and Kia Sportage (2952). Commodore is now seventh (2375) on the sales charts and Swift sixth (2391). In two years Corolla registrations have slipped -5.7 per cent, Commodore -14 per cent, Swift – 2.7 per cent.
The RAV4, on the other hand, is up 35 per cent in two years. The Sportage wasn’t even in the top 15 passenger cars in 2014. Kia itself is the big mover in the New Zealand in the past year, with registrations up almost 70 per cent.
- Early in 2014, Toyota set out to counter Ranger’s growing dominance over its outgoing Hilux with a plan: dress up a four-wheel-drive Hilux with performance-themed kit from the Toyota Racing Development (TRD) division and and limit production to 250 examples and three colours. Call it the Hilux 4WD Special Edition TRD and price it at $55,990. It prompted me to pen … .
The Ballard of Hilux and Ranger
When the food stocks are low, and the grog’s gone,
When the bush camp fire starts to splutter,
The only thing left for a working bloke to do,
Is take his Hilux to the track for a flutter.
Now a gamble or two is okay for a few,
A bookie I once knew had a stutter,
The worse it got the odds were soon shot,
And a sprinter might start as a trotter.
But the race doesn’t count once the jockey tells his mount,
That the others in the field can’t compete,
That’s been the way of the Hilux tale,
And we all know it’s far from complete.
The Hilux has been the mount of choice,
Over years it’s run itself ragged,
But now it has a challenger,
A Ford that looks far from haggard.
The Ranger they call it, a cowboy-type name,
And it’s tough as an old leather saddle,
It’s leading the sales race, the figures confirm,
And leaving Hilux stuck in its shadow.
So the Toyota blokes all chorused as one,
About the threat the big Ford poses,
They dressed Hilux in clothes, a bit on the nose,
And said it came up smelling like roses.
They added bits here and graphic there,
And lined the seats with black leather,
But try as they might they couldn’t alight,
From the fact that it only looked better.
Still, under the skin it’s all Hilux trim,
And the showy stuff won’t count a toss,
But the numbers don’t lie, the Ford people cry,
The Ranger might just become boss.
Alastair Sloane, May 2014