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 right: Amarok held tenth place at the end of April.