Fiel­d­ays fac­tor fu­els fierce fight for sales

New Zealand LCV - - COMMERCIAL MARKET | UTE SALES - BY MIKE STOCK

SPEC­TAC­U­LAR UTE SALES WERE ON THE CARDS for June, it be­ing Fiel­d­ays month, with all of the sweet deals, dis­counted pric­ing and pro­mo­tional spe­cials that go with the an­nual agri­cul­tural show.

But the once hum­ble work­horses’ sales per­for­mances al­most re-wrote the def­i­ni­tion of spec­tac­u­lar.

Sales had been strong in May when many ute dis­trib­u­tors started their Fiel­d­ays-ori­ented ad­ver­tis­ing and mar­ket­ing cam­paigns, but they hit un­par­al­leled lev­els the fol­low­ing month.

Take the mar­ket-lead­ing Ford Ranger, for ex­am­ple. In May, it had its best-to-that-time sales re­sult, win­ning the sales race – for light com­mer­cial ve­hi­cles and for any ve­hi­cle – with a stag­ger­ing 889 reg­is­tra­tions. Its arch-ri­val, the Toy­ota Hilux, wasn’t that far be­hind, find­ing 822 buy­ers.

Those are good fig­ures but bet­ter was to come in June. If Ford could sell just shy of 900 Rangers in May, would it crack 1000 in June, Fiel­d­ays month proper?

When LCV mag­a­zine spoke to Ford’s PR man Tom Clancy in late June he was non-com­mit­tal but in op­ti­mistic mood. Re­spond­ing to the ques­tion of whether a new Ranger sales record was likely in June, he said Ford was “cer­tainly on-track, and then some.”

He said Ford’s We­ber bar­be­cue with a Ranger Fiel­d­ays pro­mo­tion and “sharp pric­ing on the 2WD XLT” had helped the ute set a sales record in May.

By June 30, and still not giv­ing away any solid fig­ures, Clancy was say­ing that “yes, we will be set­ting a new record.”

When Mo­tor In­dus­try As­so­ci­a­tion (MIA) re­ported sales fig­ures were re­vealed on July 4, Ranger sales un­der­lined the im­por­tance

of the pick-up truck seg­ment in the New Zealand new ve­hi­cle mar­ket. And it showed the im­por­tance of Fiel­d­ays as a tool to sell utes. Not only was the Ranger June’s top-sell­ing ute and light com­mer­cial ve­hi­cle but it was again the coun­try’s over­all best­selling new ve­hi­cle.

And it hadn’t just reached four fig­ures but had ex­ceeded 1000 sales by a com­fort­able mar­gin.

NZ Trans­port Agency reg­is­tra­tion fig­ures show that Ford sold a jaw-drop­ping 1169 Rangers in June, ex­actly 200 more than its old spar­ring part­ner, the Toy­ota Hilux achieved.

It was a clear demon­stra­tion of the way New Zealand ute buy­ers have taken to the Ranger, and an in­di­ca­tion of how dif­fi­cult it will be to dis­lodge it from the top-sell­ing po­si­tion it has held for the past three years.

Not that Toy­ota had any­thing to feel sheep­ish about. Its June to­tal of 969 Hilux sales was tes­ti­mony to the es­teem in which the truck is still held. It was also the best sales month ever for the Toy­ota ute.

Over the past three months, Hilux sales got a boost from price cuts that took ef­fect from April 1. Toy­ota sliced $3000 off the prices of all Hilux 4WD SR mod­els, and $4000 off up­scale SR5 and SR5 Lim­ited mod­els.

Two-wheel drive Hilux S and SR prices were re­duced by $1000, and $2000 was taken off 2WD SR5 and SR5 Lim­ited pric­etags.

At the same time, Toy­ota re­duced the prices of the ute-based For­tuner SUV by $10,000 on both the GX and Lim­ited mod­els.

Toy­ota NZ sales boss Steve Prangnell said the price cuts fol­lowed sig­nif­i­cant growth in New Zealand light truck and SUV mar­kets, cou­pled with favourable ex­change rates.

“A favourable price ad­just­ment un­doubt­edly boosts our propo­si­tion and en­sures we re­main com­pet­i­tive with the other new en­trants in the mar­ket since we launched For­tuner”, he added.

Prangnell said the New Zealand mar­ket has got “even more SUV- and Ute-centric .... SUV sales have risen to 40 per­cent of the to­tal mar­ket, while pas­sen­ger sales have dropped to 32 per­cent.”

Toy­ota sales also got a fil­lip from the lim­ited edi­tion Hilux Edge which was built in both Pre­run­ner rear-wheel drive and 4x4 vari­ants at prices that ranged from $37,990 to $48,990.

Based on the SR model, the Edge pack­age in­cluded the 17inch al­loy wheels from the SR5.

It also had black over-fender flares, a black bon­net stripe above the grille and a Hilux Edge de­cal and badge pack­age.

It was avail­able in six ex­te­rior colours: Glacier White, Sil­ver Sky, Graphite, Eclipse, Olympia Red and Ne­bula Blue.

Toy­ota last of­fered a lim­ited edi­tion Hilux Edge model in 2014. This year’s ver­sion, cus­tom-built at Toy­ota’s Thames fac­tory, has sold strongly, with 183 re­tailed. At LCV presstime, Toy­ota had not started build­ing any more.

Both Ranger and Hilux sales in June showed good in­creases over their per­for­mances in June 2016, when Ford sold 839 utes and Toy­ota sold 812.

Year-to-date to June 30, the Ranger held a solid lead over the Hilux, with 4982 sales to 4084, which means it’s on track to hold on to the ute crown. At June 30 last year, Ranger sales sat at 4009 and Hilux at 3270.

Holden’s Colorado held third place in June, with 652 reg­is­tra­tions, an in­di­ca­tion of how well buy­ers have re­sponded both to Holden’s pro­mo­tional deals and to the much-im­proved model which de­buted late last year.

In June 2016, Holden moved 412 Colorados, so the year-onyear sales growth is sig­nif­i­cant.

Year-to-date to this June 30, the Holden pick-up’s sales tally sat at 2392, a rise of 607 over the same pe­riod of 2016.

The Colorado is sell­ing strongly in 4x4 form and Holden is work­ing on im­prov­ing sales of the rear-wheel drive ver­sion. Ri­val Ford en­joys very strong sales of its 2WD Ranger, and the rear­wheel drive seg­ment of the NZ ute mar­ket is grow­ing rapidly.

Mit­subishi has been reap­ing the ben­e­fits of very good pric­ing of­fers on its Tri­ton ute which slot­ted into fourth place in June. The model’s 468 sales fol­lowed on the heels of 501 reg­is­tra­tions in May when the Tri­ton placed third on the sale lad­der.

Mit­subishi NZ’S mar­ket­ing man­ager, Reece Cong­don, said the Tri­ton GLX-R sales pro­mo­tion played a ma­jor role in the ute’s sale suc­cess in May and June.

“The pop­u­lar­ity of our Tri­ton GLX-R mar­ket­ing cam­paign has been a sig­nif­i­cant con­trib­u­tor to this month’s suc­cess,” he said, re­fer­ring to the June re­sult. “We have sold 376 GLX-R 4WDS since the cam­paign launched.”

He says the cus­tom-built Tri­ton Hunt­away shown at Fiel­d­ays “cre­ated a huge buzz…and was an­other driver of sales at the event.”

In June 2016, Mit­subishi re­tailed 329 Tri­tons and the Jan­uary to June to­tal was 1177. The lat­ter com­pares to 2135 sales to this June 30.

Isuzu Utes’ D-max had a good June to take fifth spot with 336 sales. Isuzu places great store on Fiel­d­ays and for the past two years has had a large stand com­plete with off-road ex­pe­ri­ence track where show­go­ers and cus­tomers can sam­ple the ute on a rugged un­du­lat­ing dirt course.

The 2017 June to­tal was 49 ahead of the 287 it re­tailed in the same month last year.

YTD to June 30, Isuzu had reg­is­tered 1378 D-maxes, a use­ful rise on 1156 at the same time last year. In both years it was in sixth place.

If it can main­tain that sales mo­men­tum to the end of the year, it’s in line to post a healthy in­crease on the 2390 utes it re­tailed in 2016.

Nis­san’s Navara came home sixth in June with 292 sales. The Navara range is now all-diesel fol­low­ing the de­par­ture from the mar­ket of the petrol-en­gined DX which sold at the rate of around 20 a month. The petrol DX’S en­gine didn’t com­ply with the manda­tory Euro 5 emis­sions reg­u­la­tions. The June to­tal was slightly down on the 306 set in June 2016. Nis­san NZ doesn’t at­tend Fiel­d­ays, but runs pric­ing and in­ter­est rate deals around the event.

Year-to-date to June 30 the Navara was fifth with 1713 reg­is­tra­tions of which 189 were petrol-en­gined DX mod­els. In the same pe­riod of 2016, Nis­san reg­is­tered 1882 utes.

Mazda is an­other brand that doesn’t at­tend Fiel­d­ays, but it sold a re­spectable 203 BT-50S in June, a rise of 20 over the same month of last year.

It was in sev­enth place and held the same po­si­tion YTD with 1049 sales. That com­pares with 865 at the same time last year and is an in­di­ca­tion of the growth in the over­all ute mar­ket.

Volk­swa­gen Amarok sales stepped up sev­eral gears in June, with 190 sold. That com­pares with 84 in June last year and was al­most tre­ble the 69 sold in May this year.

Volk­swa­gen New Zealand has re­vised the Amarok range, and the ad­di­tion of the V6 model has broad­ened the ve­hi­cle’s ap­peal.

Year to date to June 30, Amarok sales sat at 425, with the Fiel­d­ays month ac­count­ing for close to half that to­tal. In the same pe­riod last year, VW had sold 384 utes.

Fo­ton’s re­vised Tun­land ute range – there’s an auto to join the man­ual dou­ble cab and a rear-wheel drive man­ual – also stepped up a notch in June.

Fo­ton NZ sold 118 Tun­lands in June, a shade un­der four times the 30 it moved in June 2016. YTD to June 30, Tun­land sales were well up on last year – 358 com­pared to 235.

Bot­tom left: Spe­cial edi­tion Edge con­trib­uted to the Toy­ota Hilux’s strong show­ing in May and June. Hilux sales in June were best on record. Bot­tom right: Holden sold more than 650 Colorados in June to take a solid third place for the month.

Top : Ranger wear­ing a spe­cial colour scheme on the Ford stand at Fiel­d­ays. Pro­mo­tions around the an­nual show saw the Blue Oval ute make just un­der 1200 sales in June.

From top to bot­tom: Pro­mo­tion around GLX-R model boosted Mit­subishi Tri­ton sales in May and June when com­bined to­tal sales peaked at more than 950. Isuzu’s re­vamped D-max leapfrogged the Nis­san Navara to take fifth spot on the June sales lad­der. Nis­san’s Navara range is now all-diesel fol­low­ing the with­drawal of the petrol DX which could not meet Euro 5 emis­sions stan­dards. Kit­ted out Fo­ton Tun­land on show at Fiel­d­ays. The Chi­nese ute’s sales are well up on last year as range ex­pands to in­clude au­to­matic and 2WD ver­sions.

Left: Sales of Volk­swa­gen’s Amarok are run­ning well ahead of last year fol­low­ing the range re­vamp and the ar­rival of the V6 Right: Mazda BT-50 sales re­main well short of main­stream ri­vals but they show good gains over last year.

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