MARKET VIEW: VANS
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.