MARKET WRAP: VANS
The month in van sales – aka, measuring how much Hiace is leading.
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.