Bub­bles al­ways burst, but is Ranger’s about to pop?


IN­DUS­TRY OB­SERVERS HAVE BEEN PRE­DICT­ING THE Ford Ranger’s sales bub­ble would burst vir­tu­ally since the truck took the top sales spot away from the Toy­ota Hilux in 2014. But rather than show signs of sales wob­bles, the Ford has gone from strength to strength, not only lead­ing ute sales but be­com­ing NZ’S best­selling ve­hi­cle.

It’s prob­a­bly just as well that the bub­ble re­mains in­tact, be­cause the Ranger makes up the ma­jor­ity of Ford’s NZ sales. Its car and SUV sta­ble­mates are well out­dis­tanced by ri­vals, so the ute is crit­i­cal to the Blue Oval’s pros­per­ity.

By con­trast, though its Hilux ute lags well be­hind Ranger, Toy­ota’s SUVS, cars, and van all per­form strongly in their mar­ket seg­ments. The Hi­ace dom­i­nates the van mar­ket, the RAV4 and High­lander are in the top five best-sell­ing SUVS.

Year-to-date to Au­gust 31, NZ Trans­port Agency reg­is­tra­tion fig­ures show that Ford sold 6623 Rangers to Toy­ota’s 5268 Hiluxes.

The two eas­ily out­paced the third-placed Holden Colorado with 3239 sales; on top of that HSV shifted 45 of its high-per­for­mance Colorado-based Sportscat utes in their first few weeks on the mar­ket.

Fourth place be­longed to the Mit­subishi Tri­ton with 2969 sales, but the stal­wart gathered mo­men­tum in Au­gust when it dis­placed the Colorado in the monthly statis­tics, when buy­ers chose 346 Tri­tons to 309 Colorados.

Fifth place year-to-date went to the Nis­san Navara, a model line in which rear-wheel drive ver­sions out­sell 4WDS – 1503 of the 2586 to­tal sales were two-wheel drives.

Isuzu’s rugged D-max was sixth, with 1674 sales, with the Mazda BT-50 slot­ting into seventh with 1429 regis­tra­tions.

The high-end Volk­swa­gen Amarok found 673 buy­ers in the eight months and be­hind it, in ninth place, was a ute that stresses val­ue­for-money, the LDV T60.

The Chi­nese brand’s well-es­tab­lished vans, along with ex­ten­sive ad­ver­tis­ing print and TV ad­ver­tis­ing has moved the brand closer to the long-stand­ing main­stream mar­ques, and the ute logged a solid 589 sales to Au­gust 31.

The Ssangy­ong Ac­tyon, on run-out, com­pleted the top 10 with 324 regis­tra­tions. Lo­cal agent, Great Lake Mo­tor Dis­trib­u­tors, is yet to an­nounce a firm date for the ar­rival of the ute’s re­place­ment, the Musso, which re­vives a name used on the first Ssangy­ongs that reached the NZ mar­ket in the 1990s.

HSV’S Sportscat+ has joined the reg­u­lar Sportscat, and hopes to cap­i­talise on the suc­cess of Holden’s Colorado, us­ing the same 147kw/500nm 2.8-litre en­gine. Ford’s Ranger first took the top-sell­ing man­tle in 2014, and looks set to claim its fifth straight ti­tle in 2018 with a 25 per­cent sales ad­van­tage over Hilux head­ing into the fi­nal quar­ter.

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