THE GOOD OIL: We’re still carried away with utes

auto, autos, car, cars, the good oil: we’re still carried away with utes

Photo / Supplied

The New Zealand new-vehicle sales battle between the Ford Ranger and Toyota Hilux for 2022 could be anybody’s at this stage: year-to-date to the end of October it’s 8939 to Ranger and 8259 to Hilux. As is so often the case in the current environment, the winner might come down to supply rather than true customer preference. But a win’s a win, right?

The most remarkable thing is that we’re still having this conversation in a post-Clean Car Discount world. Despite a bit of a blip with the Ranger model changeover and long waits between shipments of Hilux, the demand for utes has not really slowed in the face of feebates. Kiwis just pay the fines and keep on truckin’.

auto, autos, car, cars, the good oil: we’re still carried away with utes

Remember, Ranger/Hilux are not just the top-selling light commercials in the country, they remain the top-selling new vehicles of any kind. Among SUVs and passenger cars, only the Mitsubishi Outlander gets close (8169 YTD). The rest aren’t in the hunt.

If Toyota can claim the top spot back from Ford this year, it’ll be a really big deal. Way back in 1982, Hilux hit the top of the Kiwi light commercial charts for the first time and stayed there until 2013. It seemed unassailable and it was an annual box-ticking announcement from Toyota that its tray-excellent truck was top again.

Until 2014, when Ranger did the unthinkable and overtook Hilux in light commercial volume. Then in 2015, it wowed everybody again by becoming the top selling vehicle of any kind, ousting the Toyota Corolla. And that became the norm.

That’s really the point where Kiwi automotive culture made a sharp turn towards utes as passenger/lifestyle vehicles.

To put some of the current sales numbers in context, when Hilux was about to celebrate its 30th anniversary as number one, Toyota NZ boasted that sales topped 3800, outstripping its nearest competitor by 1500. These days, both Toyota and Ford sell that many in six months.

Breaking thailand news, thai news, thailand news Verified News Story Network