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

New Zealand LCV - - CONTENTS - Words: Mike Stock

VAN DRIV­ERS WILL BREATHE a sigh of re­lief when Toy­ota fi­nally de­vel­ops a Hi­ace van with 21st cen­tury lev­els of com­fort and driv­ing ease. Hi­aces have been around vir­tu­ally un­changed since its launch in 1967, when, like many Ki­wis, I used them to move my chat­tels from flat-to-flat.

There’s noth­ing wrong with the van’s per­for­mance or car­ry­ing ca­pac­ity, but its ride is lumpy and bouncy and speed humps are a pain. Its cab-over-en­gine lay­out means a climb into the cabin and a drop to get out – both a pain for de­liv­ery driv­ers; and rel­a­tively high noise lev­els.

De­spite ru­mours that Toy­ota would re­place the cur­rent de­sign with a van de­vel­oped jointly with France’s PSA Group, there’s no sign of any new de­sign emerg­ing soon; and Toy­ota NZ, in its time-hon­oured tra­di­tion, re­fuses to dis­cuss fu­ture prod­uct. Spec­u­la­tive in­ter­na­tional sto­ries sug­gest no ma­jor changes for 2019, so Hi­ace driv­ers will still have to set­tle for a 1970s-based work­place.

Not that they – or their fleet own­ers – seem overly wor­ried judg­ing by sales of the cur­rent model; the Toy­ota name and the Hi­ace’s rep­u­ta­tion for abil­ity (never in doubt), re­li­a­bil­ity and re­sale sees sales still rock solid and show­ing no hint of di­min­ish­ing.

In the first six months of 2018, Toy­ota sold 927 Hi­ace vans, 400 more (and al­most dou­ble!) than sec­ond-placed Ford Tran­sit, even with Tran­sit’s sales im­prov­ing with the re­cent in­tro­duc­tion of au­to­matic gear­box op­tions.

Hyundai’s iload was in third place on 373 sales, dis­plac­ing the LDV duo – which led the iload af­ter April – the mid-sized G10 and the V80 which is sold in three dif­fer­ent cargo ca­pac­ity van ver­sions and a cab/ chas­sis.

The G10 was in fourth place with 223 sales, a to­tal ham­pered slightly by a short­age of au­to­matic gear­box diesel ver­sions.

Talk­ing LDV, the first all-elec­tric LDV EV80 vans ar­rived in New Zealand at the end of July, the ship­ment of 10 all pre-sold with a sec­ond batch in Au­gust also pre-sold.

Above: Born in 1967, Toy­ota’s Hi­ace shares a birth year with Vin Diesel, Will Fer­rell, Ju­lia Roberts and Matt Le­blanc, for those who were ask­ing. Or weren’t.

Right: LDV’S EV80 has ar­rived, spark­ing a new era of elec­tric van. All 10 units that ar­rived in July were pre-sold, as were the fol­low­ing batch in Au­gust.

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