RANGER BUBBLE INTACT
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.