NZ rental cars rid­dle: Which ve­hi­cle is tops?

Upper Hutt Leader - - CLASSIFIED - ROB MAETZIG

The Toy­ota Corolla is New Zealand’s big­gest-sell­ing pas­sen­ger car – but is it our most pop­u­lar car?

That all de­pends if rentals are fac­tored into the equa­tion.

Lat­est sta­tis­tics show that the Corolla and its Toy­ota sta­ble­mate the RAV4 are bat­tling it out for top spot on the sales ta­ble – at the end of July the Corolla held a nar­row lead with 2598 reg­is­tra­tions, just ahead of the RAV4 which had achieved 2260 reg­is­tra­tions.

But fig­ures sup­plied by the Mo­tor In­dus­try As­so­ci­a­tion show that 27 per cent of the Corol­las and 48.5 per cent of the RAV4s sold so far this year have gone to rental car com­pa­nies. If the rental car busi­ness is re­moved from the equa­tion, then it’s the Kia Sportage that is ac­tu­ally New Zealand’s most pop­u­lar pas­sen­ger ve­hi­cle.

It all shows just how im­por­tant the rental in­dus­try is to New Zealand’s new ve­hi­cle mar­ket. And the busi­ness is grow­ing, too – in 2014 there were 13,263 pas­sen­ger cars, SUVs and light com­mer­cial ve­hi­cles reg­is­tered as rentals, a year later this had grown to 17,038, in 2017 the num­ber jumped again to 19,606.

The first seven months of 2017 have seen a to­tal of 6382 ve­hi­cles reg­is­tered as rentals, which could in­di­cate a big drop in rental sales for the year. But Oc­to­ber and Novem­ber are tra­di­tion­ally boom times for rental ve­hi­cle reg­is­tra­tions as the in­dus­try gears up for the sum­mer tourism sea­son, so we can ex­pect the to­tal for the year to be at least the equal of 2016.

MIA sta­tis­tics show that Toy­ota to­tally dom­i­nates the rental ve­hi­cle scene.

Last year the brand had the top four rental ve­hi­cles, reg­is­ter­ing 3166 Corol­las as rentals (50.4 per cent of all Corol­las sold), fol­lowed by the RAV4 with 1593 reg­is­tra­tions (44.1 per cent), High­lander with 1049 reg­is­tra­tions (52.7 per cent), and the Yaris with 795 reg­is­tra­tions (33.4 per cent).

Toy­ota also topped the list of reg­is­tra­tions of light com­mer­cial ve­hi­cles as rentals in 2016. That hon­our went to the Hiace van, with 526 of them go­ing to rental com­pa­nies.

MIA fig­ures to end of July this year show the RAV4 has taken over top spot with 1097 reg­is­tra­tions as rentals, which is 48.5 per cent of all RAV4s reg­is­tered. Corolla is sec­ond on 707 reg­is­tra­tions and High­lander third on 457, fol­lowed by a cou­ple of soon-to-dis­ap­pear Hold­ens – the Cap­tiva (273) and the Com­modore (252).

And the top light com­mer­cial ve­hi­cle is the big­gest-sell­ing ve­hi­cle of all in New Zealand this year – the Ford Ranger ute. So far this year 5631 of these utes have been sold, 208 of them as rentals. That rental fig­ure rep­re­sents just 3.69 per cent of all Rangers reg­is­tered to the end of July.

All this means is that so far in 2016 it is the Corolla that is New Zealand’s big­gest-sell­ing pas­sen­ger ve­hi­cle, but it is the RAV4 that is the big­gest-sell­ing rental pas­sen­ger ve­hi­cle, and if the rental busi­ness is re­moved it is the Kia Sportage that is the most pop­u­lar pas­sen­ger car.

And big­gest sell­ing ve­hi­cle, full­stop? It’s the Ranger ute, which is sell­ing at a rate more than dou­ble those pas­sen­ger cars.

Which is tops in the rental rid­dle – is it the Toy­ota Corolla?

Or is it the Toy­ota RAV4?

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