2017 LIGHT TRUCK GUIDE
A guide to the light-duty trucks on sale in New Zealand.
THERE ARE ONLY FIVE BRANDS IN THE HOTLY-CONTESTED and fast-growing New Zealand light-duty truck market.
The established market leaders are all Japanese – the Fuso Canter, Hino 300, and Isuzu N-series.
For the past few years the Isuzu has led the market comfortably, but this year, rejuvenated by a new distributor, Fuso regained the lead it held several years ago.
Hino is third, a fair distance behind the other two, but well clear of the remaining two players.
The first of them is Korean manufacturer Hyundai. Its first foray into the segment with the rather plain-looking HD60 and HD75 never really ignited, the trucks seen as an unknown quantity and too pricey.
They were replaced early this year by the much more contemporary-looking Mighty.
The final brand is China’s Foton which markets the robust and very keenly-priced Aumark.
It was initially distributed here by the Ateco Group, but the marketing campaign was pretty low-key, and relatively few were sold.
Foton New Zealand, part of the Hamilton-based Ebbett Group, took over distribution late last year, and at LCV’S presstime was just starting to ramp up promotion of the new Euro 5-engined Aumark which was launched at the 2017 Fieldays.
In 2017, the light-duty truck market is burgeoning on the back of the infrastructure work going on around the country, and sales in the first six months are well ahead of where they were in January to June 30 in 2016.
The sales battle has intensified this year, with the Fuso and Isuzu locking horns in a titanic struggle.
For the past few years the Isuzu has been on top, and in 2016, it dominated sales, achieving 566 registrations during the year.
And it was absolute domination, with the N-series outselling its rivals by more than two-to-one.
Behind it, the scrap for second place could scarcely have been closer.
Ultimately, the spot went to the Fuso Canter with 218 registrations, just three more than the third-placed Hino 300.
During 2017, that has all changed. First, Fuso got a new distributor which took over the brand from Mitsubishi Motors New Zealand.
Fuso New Zealand vowed to get the triple diamond brand back on track in 2017, and began a high-powered marketing campaign and introduced some seriously good deals.
And by the end of February the Canter led year-to-date sales narrowly – 66 registrations to the Isuzu N-series’ 62.
Two months later Canter sales sat at 156 sales to the N– series’ 139, and then the battle got fiercer. In June the two truck model lines were only two registrations apart. Fuso sold 51 Canters and Isuzu 49 N-series.
After the first six months of 2017, the Canter was well ahead of the N-series with cumulative sales of 294 to the Isuzu’s 213.
The Hino 300 was third with 117 registrations followed by the Mighty with eight sales. Foton has sold one Aumark after being absent from the market for several months.
On the next five pages we profile each truck, and offer brief road tests of the Canter, Mighty, Hino 300 and N-series by Truck & Driver’s team, Trevor and Hayden Woolston.
Right: Fuso Canter led NZ light truck registrations after first six months of 2017. Below left: Isuzu N-series was NZ’S top-selling light-duty truck for several years. Below right: Hino 300 is third in the light-duty segment.