in buoy­ant light truck mar­ket

New Zealand LCV - - CONTENTS -

Our in-depth anal­y­sis of the New Zealand light com­mer­cial ve­hi­cle mar­ket in 2017. Who were the big win­ners?

FUSO’S CAN­TER WAS NEW ZEALAND’S BEST-SELL­ING light-duty truck in 2017, hold­ing off a strong late year chal­lenge from for­mer mar­ket leader, the Isuzu N-se­ries. Fuso sold 565 Can­ters dur­ing the year, to Isuzu’s 516 N-se­ries, giv­ing the Mit­subishi brand a lead of 49.

That was a ma­jor turn-around from 2016 when Isuzu ab­so­lutely dom­i­nated the mar­ket with 566 regis­tra­tions; Fuso was sec­ond with 218 Can­ters sold – just three more than ri­val brand Hino’s 300 se­ries light truck. Hino 300 regis­tra­tions last year to­talled 238.

Be­tween them the two mar­ket lead­ers sold 1081 trucks last year, 23 more trucks than the to­tal for the en­tire seg­ment in 2016.

Last year the over­all light-duty truck mar­ket of 1379 was 321 regis­tra­tions ahead of 2016, an in­crease of roughly 31 per­cent which un­der­lines the buoy­ancy of the seg­ment.

The to­tal also re­flects the solid mar­ket­ing and sales per­for­mance de­liv­ered by the newly-formed Fuso New Zealand which took over dis­tri­bu­tion of the brand from Mit­subishi New Zealand at the end of 2016.

Fuso NZ in­creased Can­ter sales by just over 60 per­cent dur­ing 2017.

The com­pany says that In its first cal­en­dar year of trad­ing, it smashed the pre­vi­ous record for Fuso truck and bus sales in NZ by more than 20 per­cent, reg­is­ter­ing 1017 units across all truck seg­ments.

Over the pre­vi­ous five years, Fuso truck and bus sales av­er­aged 540 a year, and the pre­vi­ous sales record of 787 was set in 2014.

Last year, Fuso achieved a 17.6 per­cent share of the mar­ket – a 99.8 per­cent in­crease on its 2016 po­si­tion.

“We didn’t head out to set the world on fire,” says man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Kur­tis An­drews. “Our main goal for the year was to de­velop a busi­ness that would al­low Fuso trucks to re­alise their po­ten­tial in New Zealand – thanks to our highly ex­pe­ri­enced and pas­sion­ate dealer net­work, the foun­da­tion was al­ready in place.

“There has been a mas­sive amount of work put in at Fuso NZ, and by our deal­ers, to build our team and op­er­a­tions from the ground

up, so to sell 1017 trucks against that back­ground is tes­ta­ment to the ef­fort that went in and the po­ten­tial the busi­ness has.”

Fuso has also beefed up its parts di­vi­sion. “We now carry over 8000 stock items in our parts in­ven­tory,” says An­drews. “Pre­vi­ously, only around 3000 Fuso parts were avail­able off the shelf in New Zealand; any­thing else had to be air­freighted, which of­ten led to un­sat­is­fac­tory de­lays. Our off-the-shelf parts or­der fill rate is now at 96 per­cent.”

An­drews says Fuso is look­ing for more ex­pan­sion as 2018 un­folds. “Now we’re set up, we’re in a po­si­tion to fo­cus on sell­ing trucks and con­tin­u­ing to de­liver bet­ter for our cus­tomers.

“We’ve got some ex­cit­ing prod­ucts land­ing in 2018, and we’re all pretty ex­cited about the op­por­tu­ni­ties they’ll bring,” he adds.

Isuzu dom­i­nated the over­all new truck mar­ket in New Zealand last year, com­ing out on top for the 18th year in a row.

“Since the year 2000, Isuzu Trucks has been the top sell­ing truck brand in New Zealand, which is an un­prece­dented achieve­ment,” says Isuzu gen­eral man­ager, Colin Muir.

“There are very few brands in the en­tire au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try, even con­sid­er­ing a global per­spec­tive, which can claim such dom­i­nance.”

Isuzu achieved 1305 regis­tra­tions across all truck seg­ments dur­ing the year, which is a new record. Muir says Isuzu held a 25.6 per­cent share of the new truck mar­ket. “The qual­ity, per­for­mance and all-round dura­bil­ity of Isuzu trucks has con­trib­uted to this on­go­ing suc­cess, as has a dealer net­work which is re­ally step­ping up in terms of ex­ceed­ing cus­tomer ex­pec­ta­tions.”

Muir is up­beat about the fu­ture. “Prospects for Isuzu Trucks are very bright, a sen­ti­ment shared by many of the Isuzu Mas­ter Truck deal­ers who have in­vested heav­ily in the fu­ture of the brand in­clud­ing new or sig­nif­i­cantly up­graded fa­cil­i­ties and grow­ing staff num­bers...

“We’re re­ally ex­cited about our prospects head­ing into 2018... We have ev­ery con­fi­dence we can con­tinue this re­mark­able run of form.”

In the light-duty seg­ment, Hino was the only other brand to achieve three-digit sales fig­ures in 2017. Its 300 se­ries sales of 238 were around 10 per­cent higher than its 2016 re­sults.

Hyundai’s all-new Mighty was the year’s fourth big­gest seller. Pre­viewed at the 2016 Fiel­d­ays and launched at the THE Expo last March, the Mighty is a big im­prove­ment on the pre­vi­ous HD se­ries trucks the brand mar­keted here.

They sold in very small num­bers and were re­tailed at fire-sale prices dur­ing their fi­nal months; Hyundai NZ moved six HD75S in 2017 and 35 the year be­fore. It also sold 14 HD65S in 2016.

Though Mighty sales started slowly, by De­cem­ber 31, Hyundai NZ had re­tailed 25.

Chi­nese brand Fo­ton was re­launched dur­ing 2017 af­ter Fo­ton NZ, part of Hamil­ton’s Eb­bett Group, took over dis­trib­u­tor­ship of the Au­mark light truck and Tun­land ute from Ateco.

The Au­mark was off the mar­ket for sev­eral months while Fo­ton NZ worked on fi­nal lo­cal spec and model range; once that was done, 13 were reg­is­tered in the fi­nal months of the year, five of them in De­cem­ber.

Fo­ton NZ is un­der­stood to have strong for­ward or­ders for the well-priced trucks, with at least one fleet mov­ing over from a Ja­panese brand.

And that, ba­si­cally, was the light-duty mar­ket in 2017. Com­plet­ing the to­tal were seven light-duty ver­sions of Fuso’s Fighter, one Isuzu F-se­ries and one Chi­nese Jac.

De­cem­ber sales fig­ures showed the Isuzu N-se­ries in com­mand with 75 regis­tra­tions to the Fuso Can­ter’s 56. Hino moved twen­ty­five 300s, Fo­ton sold five Au­marks and the only other light-duty truck regis­tra­tions for the month were three Hyundai Mightys.

Fuso’s Can­ter was NZ’S best-sell­ing light truck last year.

Fo­ton Au­mark re­turned to NZ mar­ket last year and sales are gath­er­ing mo­men­tum.

Left: Isuzu N-se­ries came back strongly af­ter Can­ter set early lead. Right top: Hino 300 took the third podium spot last year. Right be­low: Hyundai Mighty is still es­tab­lish­ing it­self af­ter be­ing launched in 2017.

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