MARKET WRAP: VAN
As sales positions settle for final run, new products from Ford, Mercedes and LDV try to minimise the gap to the runaway Hiace.
The month in van sales – aka, measuring how much Hiace is leading by.
SALES OF FORD’S TRANSIT VAN UNDERLINE THE importance of having an automatic gearbox option on the New Zealand market. Kiwi van buyers, no matter what vehicle they’re choosing, gravitate to an automatic rather than a manual gearbox. It’s an understandable choice for drivers in the major cities where a manual gearbox can be a real pain in stop/start rush-hour traffic.
In New Zealand, the lack of an automatic gearbox option hampered Transit sales over the years. Though an automatic option became available in 2017, supply restraints didn’t see it available here in numbers until early this year.
In recent years, the multi-model Transit range – including versions of the mid-sized Custom and the large Cargo vans – battled salefor-sale with Hyundai’s iload. But with the auto freely available in both variants around mid-2018, the Transit broke well clear of the iload and settled into a solid second place.
To October 31 this year, Ford sold 957 Transits to Hyundai’s 621 iloads, with the duo taking the minor podium places. The Transit’s 10 month total compared with 930 sales during the whole of 2017, putting it on track for a 23 percent increase and total sales around 1150 units.
So that means it’s clearly no threat to Hiace over the final two months, the Toyota already firmly on the top step of the dais with 1716 van sales at the end of October, and on track to pass 2000 – and around double the market share of its nearest competitor.
Chinese brand, LDV, filled fourth and fifth places, with the frontwheel drive V80 achieving 414 sales, and the smaller rear-drive G10 managing 366 units by the end of October. The electric-powered version of the V80, the EV80, also found 14 buyers in the first 10 months of 2018.
Big European vans do reasonably well in New Zealand – by contrast their mid-sized stablemates generally struggle against the Hiace, iload and V80.
Mercedes-benz’s big Sprinter found 285 buyers between January and October, and fellow German brand Volkswagen retailed 211 of its similarly-sized all-new Crafter.
Mercedes’ impressive but pricey Vito mid-sizer managed only 52 sales, but VW’S mid-size van, the T6 Transporter, is a star in its segment. VW sold 340 to October 31, compared to the 235 sold by the end of October 2017. That showing maintained its sixth place on the 2018 sales ladder, ahead of Sprinter and Crafter.
VW’S small van, the Caddy which sells in short- and longwheelbase versions, slotted into ninth place and easily outdistanced its car-based city van rivals, the Renault Kangoo (27 sales) and Peugeot Partner (21).
Completing the top 10 was the Italian Iveco Daily whose truck DNA gives it strong appeal in the heavy-duty large van segment of the market. Iveco sold 112 in the first 10 months.
Above: Automatic gearbox has helped the Transit shift gears in 2018. See that clever wordplay there?! Genius. Left:toyota Hiace, number one again in 2018, with two months of sales still to go.