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Hilux vs Ranger: tight competition for NZ’s best-selling ute


A fierce and close competition for the country’s top selling light commercial vehicle is heating up.

The Toyota Hilux has been New Zealand’s top-selling ute for the last 32 years. However, in sales figures to the end of October, the Ford Ranger leads slightly – with both holding 16 percent of the market at start of the fourth quarter.

To the end of October, Ford Ranger had sold 5,061 units, while Toyota Hilux had sold 4,778. The month of October went to Ranger, selling 627 units. Hilux came second, with 514 units.

However, this competition looks to go down to the line, as these auto giants, and the industry as a whole, prepare for the busiest time of the year, MTA Chief Executive Warwick Quinn says.

“Both Toyota and Ford have begun their Christmas campaigns, with potential bargains for savvy customers as the manufacturers vie for the coveted top spot. These vehicles are used extensively in the building sector, and form the backbone of the rural economy,” Quinn says.

Overall, New Zealand’s new commercial market has had the strongest year to date, on record. The new sector was up 14 percent for October on the same month last year (2014: 3,113, 2013: 2,734), with YTD sales up 21 percent (2014: 30,806 units, 2013: 25,521 units).

As New Zealand’s tourism industry gears up for the summer holiday season, rental companies restocking fleets have pushed the new car market to the biggest October since 1975. The segment was up 12 percent for October 2014 on the year prior (2014: 8,910 units, 2013: 7,962 units) with the sector up 10 percent year to date (YTD; 2014: 75,772 units, 2013: 68,609 units).

The month’s most popular new cars were led by the Toyota Corolla (1,257 units), followed by Toyota Yaris (438 units) and Holden Commodore (294 units).

“Toyota had another massive month in the new passenger segment. However, Holden’s Commodore continues to sell strongly here – despite the vehicle nearing the end of its illustrious production history. It also seems to be the sole large car to keep selling well here, in the wake of the popular move to SUVs,” Quinn says.

“Another indicator of the dynamism of the industry at this time: compared to the market’s overall increase of 10 percent for the year so far, there have been some movers in the more specialised sectors in the New Zealand scene. Fiat has seen a massive 238 percent increase in sales; Renault is up 197 percent. Landrover is up 87 percent and Jeep is up 62 percent.”

The used import car market for October is up 30 percent, when compared to the same month last year (2014: 11,105 units, 2013: 8,545 units). It was up 32 percent YTD on last year (2014:105,945 units, 2013: 80,077 units). With 12,908 used imported cars arriving in the country, that there are 1,823 cars as yet unregistered indicates continued confidence from the supply sector.

The two-wheeled vehicle market has responded positively to the longer days and better weather, also. Whether new or used, over 60cc or scooters, registrations of all types of motorcycles are up for the month and the year. New motorcycle registrations for the month are up 21 percent on last year (2014: 762 units, 2013: 631 units), and up 9 percent YTD (2014: 6,122 units, 2013: 5,624). The import motorcycle used market is up 49 percent on last October (2014: 251 units, 2013: 168 units) and 32 percent YTD (2014: 1,722 units, 2013: 1303 units).

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