What New Zealand’s best selling vehicle list says about us

with Stuart Macadam
It’s amazing how quickly things can change.
Back in 2008, when the Great Financial Crisis was in full swing, there was a sudden and noticeable shift in the car market. People were trading in their gas guzzlers for smaller, more fuel-efficient cars. And, with petrol prices racing past $2 a litre, who could blame anyone for making this decision?
That was then. Today, bigger cars have made a big comeback. This was confirmed by the statistics the Motor Industry Association provided a few weeks ago. Here are the Top 10 bestselling vehicles.
  1. Ford Ranger (4,976 units sold)
  2. Toyota Hilux (4,065 units)
  3. Holden Colorado (2,384 units)
  4. Toyota Corolla (2,334 units)
  5. Mitsubishi Triton (2,130 units)
  6. Toyota Rav4 (2,002 units)
  7. Kia Sportage (1,814 units)
  8. Nissan Navara (1,705 units)
  9. Mazda CX-5 (1,562 units)
  10. Toyota Hiace (1,549 units)
We made the prediction right at the start of the year that Utes and SUVs will continue dominating the market. Previous sales figures showed that at least 14 of the 20 top selling commercial and passenger vehicles over the last couple of years were Utes and SUVs. We also noticed the types of enquiries we were getting from organisations up and down the country were for these types of vehicles.
In fact, the Ute and SUV domination of the new vehicle market has been that way for a while now. Go back five years and a lot of the vehicles on the current bestselling list were there.
What’s the reason for this shift? Simple, our needs are changing. A couple of years ago, it was easy to see why small cars were popular. A lot of working parent just needed a reliable, fuel efficient car that could get them to and from work. Now that the economy is in a much better state, family road trips and time at the bach are in the routine a lot more. People are more prepared to buy larger vehicles for the work and lifestyle balance which it provides.
Manufacturers looked carefully at the change in demand during the recession and changed their rhythm as well. They turned Utes and SUVs into more fuel efficient and reliable vehicles. They highlighted that owning a vehicle with heaps of storage space suits the outdoors Kiwi lifestyle a lot of us enjoy. The blocky looking designs were binned and made way for more aesthetically pleasing models which look sharp.
There has been a lot of talk about electric vehicles taking off as the next big sellers. That will probably happen slowly over time. For now though, the petrol and diesel show continues.


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