MAR­KET VIEW: VANS

New Zealand LCV - - CONTENTS - By Mike Stock

The month in van sales – aka, mea­sur­ing how much Hiace is lead­ing by.

NEW ZEALAND 2018, THE HOME of the di­nosaurs; one is a real di­nosaur, the Tu­atara, the other is an au­to­mo­tive throw­back that con­tin­ues to see off much more mod­ern op­po­si­tion.

And like the Tu­atara’s an­ces­tors, our au­to­mo­tive di­nosaur rules the earth – well, the roads any­way.

Our four-wheel dino is Toy­ota’s Hiace van which has topped the NZ mar­ket for more than 20 years; but un­like the di­nosaurs of yore which failed to change and died out, the Toy­ota has evolved to meet chang­ing mar­ket con­di­tions.

Doubt­less, ri­val brands would like to see the Hiace go the way of the T-rex and Bron­tosaurus, but even the in­tro­duc­tion of manda­tory elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol (ESC) didn’t mean the end of the Toy­ota.

At a time when there was talk of dis­con­tin­u­ing the Hiace due to the need to meet in­creased safety pa­ram­e­ters, the com­pany’s en­gi­neers sim­ply did what pun­dits reck­oned they couldn’t, and de­vel­oped an ESC sys­tem for a truck that was de­signed long be­fore such tech­nol­ogy be­came main­stream.

Since it got sta­bil­ity con­trol, Hiace sales have boomed – it’s no sonic boom, but there’s been a steady in­crease.

New ve­hi­cle in­dus­try or­gan­i­sa­tion the MIA says Toy­ota shifted 210 in Fe­bru­ary, a lift of 14 over the same month of 2017.

And though Jan­uary 1 to Fe­bru­ary 28 sales were 90 down on the same pe­riod last year, at 342 they were al­most three times those of the sec­ond-placed Hyundai iload.

Though it’s a lit­tle down on cargo ca­pac­ity – 4.4 cu­bic me­tres when most mid-sized vans are six – the iload has struck a chord with trades­peo­ple and ser­vice fleets that don’t need the ex­tra ca­pac­ity.

Ki­wis bought 124 in the first two months of this year, to put the iload into sec­ond spot, dis­plac­ing the peren­nial brides­maid, Ford’s twin-model Tran­sit range, by just two sales.

Tran­sit sales have been hit by stock short­ages (see sep­a­rate story), but when full sup­ply is avail­able, look for the Ford to show a se­ri­ous sales rise.

Chi­nese au­to­mo­tive gi­ant SAIC’S Bri­tish (LDV) and Korean (Dae­woo) de­vel­oped LDV V80 sat in fourth place at the end of Fe­bru­ary with 85 sales. Sold in mul­ti­ple vari­a­tions of the same ba­sic van – and a cab/chas­sis – the V80 pro­vides a lot of abil­ity and prac­ti­cal­ity at a very sharp price.

Sales in Fe­bru­ary suf­fered be­cause some sold stock was held up on the Tokyo Ace ship which was in­fected with the stink bug, and was re­fused en­try to New Zealand.

LDV’S other van, the smaller G10 – rear­wheel drive where the V80 is a front-driver – was in fifth spot.

Of­fered in both petrol and diesel vari­ants, the G10 has a 5.2 cu­bic me­tre cargo ca­pac­ity, plenty of per­for­mance (aside from the non-turbo 2.4-litre petrol ver­sion), and good road man­ners. It pro­vides another op­tion for op­er­a­tors who don’t need a full six-cu­bic-me­tre van.

The rest of the top 10 vans in the first two months of 2018 were all Euro­pean – five from Ger­many, one from France.

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