Ranger con­tin­ues its phe­nom­e­nal sales run


FORD’S RANGER UTE IS CON­TIN­U­ING THE phe­nom­e­nal suc­cess story that be­gan in 2014 when it took the ti­tle of New Zealand’s best-sell­ing light com­mer­cial ve­hi­cle away from the Toy­ota Hilux which had been atop the charts for 32 con­sec­u­tive years.

Since then, the Ranger has been the top-sell­ing ute and LCV, and more re­cently has be­come the coun­try’s best-sell­ing new ve­hi­cle over­all, beat­ing all cars and SUVS.

In April, the most re­cent month for which NZ Trans­port Agency reg­is­tra­tion fig­ures were avail­able when this is­sue of LCV mag­a­zine went to press, it racked up 698 sales.

That was 127 more than the Hilux which sat on 571 regis­tra­tions for the month.

Both were well clear of the third-placed Holden Colorado – the LCV Mag­a­zine Ute of the Year – which recorded 312 regis­tra­tions.

Year-to-date (YTD) to April 30, the Ranger was 621 regis­tra­tions ahead of the Hilux, with 2914 sales to the Toy­ota’s 2293. Even at that early stage of the year, the Ford looked to have an unas­sail­able lead which should give it a fourth year at the top.

Ford has struck a res­o­nant and en­dur­ing chord with NZ new ve­hi­cle buy­ers with the Ranger’s blend of off-road abil­ity, haul­ing ca­pac­ity, com­fort, per­for­mance and on-road han­dling.

No ute – save per­haps Volkswagen’s up­mar­ket Amarok – of­fers as bal­anced a blend of at­tributes, and Ford has kept ahead of the pack with savvy up­grades that en­hance the Ranger’s ap­peal.

The re­vised Colorado, which Holden in­tro­duced in 2016, is a quan­tum leap ahead of its fore­bear, with ex­cel­lent steer­ing, good ride qual­ity and much im­proved re­fine­ment but it still has a lit­tle way to go to match the Ranger.

Year-to-date to April 30, the Holden had recorded 1404 regis­tra­tions, a cred­i­ble fig­ure but still less than half the num­ber the Ford achieved.

This time last year, the Hilux had a flick­er­ing mo­ment of re­newed glory, out­selling the Ranger af­ter clos­ing the gap be­tween them in March.

Toy­ota sold 536 Hiluxes to Ford’s 508 Rangers, and the Nis­san Navara was third with 328 Navaras to Holden’s 229 Colorados.

YTD to April 30 last year, the Ranger held a size­able lead, with 2417 regis­tra­tions to the Hilux’s 1884.

The year-on-year growth in the size of the ute mar­ket is clear when you com­pare the first four months of this year to the same pe­riod of 2016.

The Ranger was 494 sales ahead of where it was the year be­fore, and the Toy­ota was 409 sales up on its 2016 per­for­mance.

The Holden Colorado, in third place this year, was 413 sales ahead

of its four-month tally of 991 sales in 2016. Last year at April 30, it had been fifth year-to-date be­hind the Mit­subishi Tri­ton and Nis­san Navara.

This April, the Navara slot­ted into fourth place with 263 sales, 33 of them the petrol-en­gined DX.

The Tri­ton was fifth on 298 regis­tra­tions, but the YTD gap be­tween the two Ja­panese utes was much closer: the Nis­san held fourth with 1177 regis­tra­tions, but the fifth-placed Mit­subishi was only 12 be­hind on 1165.

The mar­ket’s quiet achiever, the Isuzu D-max was in sixth place in April, with 207 sales. The truck is mak­ing ground yearon-year and Isuzu Utes has its eye on climb­ing a place or two.

YTD, the D-max also sat sixth, with 790 sales. That was one place bet­ter, and 311 regis­tra­tions up on where it was a year ago.

Sev­enth this April was held by the Mazda BT-50 with 129 sales; it was also sev­enth YTD with a to­tal of 660 regis­tra­tions. Last year, it had been sev­enth with 499 sales.

VW’S Amarok was eighth on the April sales lad­der with 44 sales, but YTD it was tenth, on 166 regis­tra­tions. That was prob­a­bly a re­flec­tion of sup­ply con­straints as Volkswagen shuf­fled the Amarok model line-up and in­tro­duced the po­tent V6. At the same time last year, its sales were 239 for the four months and it was in ninth spot.

Ssangy­ong’s Ac­tyon dou­ble cab slot­ted into ninth this April with 40 regis­tra­tions, and 243 sales to April 30 gave it eighth place year-to-date.

China’s Fo­ton held tenth place in April af­ter sell­ing 31 Tun­lands. A new model with an au­to­matic gear­box and a new two-wheel drive dou­ble cab will help to boost Tun­land sales; YTD it was ninth with 189 regis­tra­tions.

The other Chi­nese ute on the mar­ket, the Great Wall Steed found 13 buy­ers in April and 48 in what was vir­tu­ally its first four months on sale in New Zealand.

The other utes on the mar­ket sold in small num­bers. The In­dian duo, the Mahin­dra Ge­nio and Pik-up sold five and three re­spec­tively in April and nine and 20 YTD to April 30.

The big, $160,000-plus, Ram 2500 achieved five sales in April, and 17 in the first four months; and the Holden Com­modore, in its swan­song months, found 52 buy­ers, nine of them in April.

Its ul­tra-high-per­for­mance HSV de­riv­a­tive, the Maloo sat at seven sales to April 30.

Top: Ford looks set to hang on to top-sell­ing ute ti­tle if sales con­tinue at cur­rent level. Bot­tom left: Toy­ota Hilux is in sec­ond place, ahead of the Holden Colorado. Right top: Ssangy­ong has sold 243 Ac­tyon utes in first four months of 2017. Bot­tom...

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