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Ranger dominating NZ ute market

Ranger dominating NZ ute market
The Ford Ranger is number one in ute sales in New Zealand.

The farm ute may have driven its way into rural culture the moment Crumpy hurtled across our television screens in the 1980s in his Hilux, but farm trucks have come a long way since then.
The Hilux still has a cult following due to its famed reliability, but the iconic jack-of-all-trades Toyota may have lost its crown, if sales are anything to go by.
The next-generation Ford Ranger, with the drivability of a car but the stance of a prop in a finals match, is dominating the ute market, and it means business.
“They are a class-leading vehicle,” Gluyas Motor Group Ashburton Ford sales manager Chris Hart says.
“They are robust, versatile, and have a lot of safety and technology on board, which farmers like.”
The XLT is the most popular model.
The middle-of-the-range workhorse with a three-and-a-half tonne towing capacity and two-litre engine with a 10-speed auto is a good combination for people, Hart says.
Those wanting a more high-spec option can take things up a notch with the Ranger Sport offering leather trim and an 184kw V6 engine.
The high-performance Ranger Wildtrak comes with all the trimmings and a three-litre V6 powerhouse under the bonnet.
Mt Somers farmer Arthur Grigg purchased a next-generation Ranger Sport V6 last November, and has been impressed with the vehicle’s practicality and versatility.
“It’s primarily used on-farm, but I also wanted to be able to tow with it,” Grigg said.
Although not as economical as he would like, the Ranger’s engine size and comfort set it apart from other utes on the market.
“It uses a bit of fuel, but it’s comfortable, and the technology is good.
“It’s almost got too much tech for the farm, but all utes are probably heading that way.”
The Hilux may not be relegated to the bench just yet, though, with some farmers and agribusinesses still in the diehard Toyota camp.
Optimise and Vitalise managing director Scott Pascoe favours Toyota, with the Hilux the company’s fleet vehicle of choice.
“The Hilux has always been known for quality and resale value.
“The serviceability and the service quality is good.”
Pascoe had moved the company vehicles over from Ford to Toyota a few years ago, finding the Hilux a good choice for fuel economy and durability.
“The Ford has definitely got better performance. From that point, the Ranger is superior. But we don’t really need that in a fleet vehicle.
“We found the Toyota more fuel efficient, and we are doing 500,000 kilometres with no issues.”
While there is not much difference between the Ranger and Hilux capability off-road, the Hilux is more robust, Pascoe said.
“That’s what Toyota is renowned for.
"They are designed to go off-road. And obviously, our reps need to go on-farm, and we find the Hilux performs well in those situations.”
Despite New Zealand’s long-term love affair with the Hilux, Canstar reported that in 2022 new vehicle registrations for Ford Rangers were up at 11,577, exceeding Hilux by nearly 2000 vehicles.
The Hilux and the Ranger outsold New Zealand’s number one passenger vehicle, the Mitsubishi Outlander, proving that no matter what side of the fence you are on, the trusty ute is here to stay.

  • By Claire Inkson