Ranger out muscles Hilux for 2014


Hilux is no longer the king of the utes.

The Ford Ranger has toppled them which is unsurprising given how poos the Hilux has become since 2005.

Car sales in New Zealand are the strongest they’ve ever been, with the Motor Trade Association (MTA) reporting a 21 percent increase last year.

But something that might surprise farmers and tradies is that the Ford Ranger ute is now the most popular light commercial vehicle in the country, taking the title off the Toyota Hilux for the first time in more than 30 years.

“The Ranger, they’re everywhere. It’s amazing but they’re just great value all-round, great vehicles,” says Bruce Ramsay of Dyers Road ITM, a Christchurch company that has just upgraded its vehicle fleet with 15 new Ford Ranger utes.

According to MTA figures, the Ranger’s now the most popular ute in the country. Nearly 6500 of them were sold last year.  

John Hutchison of Team Hutchison Ford sold a good chunk of them.

“Over one a day – we sold close to 400 last year,” he says.

The Ranger has finally knocked its rival, the Toyota Hilux, off the top of the list of most popular light commercial vehicles. It’s a title the Hilux has held for 32 years, helped in no small way by the famous 1980s ads starring Barry Crump.=

Inertia takes a lot of time to overcome and now it has happened.

The Hilux of today is not the Hilux of Barry Crumps days. More and more people I know who were former Hilux driver now won;t touch them with a barge pole.

I was talking to the principal of Southern Autos, who also happens to have the Ford/Mazda dealership in Manukau (South Auckland Motors)as well, when I picked up the Isuzu D-Max LS and he was telling me just how many Rangers he moves out the door from his Ford dealership…and quickly they went from nowhere to number one as a truck.

If you are after a new ute either a Ford or an Isuzu then pop down to Manukau and the fellas at Southern Autos and South Auckland Motors and tell them the Whale sent you…they’ll look after you.

Southern Autos





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  • Bruno 32

    Traded in my 2013 hilux for a ranger before Xmas. I am a happy man. Superior to the hilux in every way.

  • Watcher

    Only a few more weeks before my “old” Ranger gets moved on for the new model.
    I cant wait.

  • Pluto

    Loving my Ranger, not surprised to see them at the top. The figures would have been even higher but they couldn’t meet the demand. It’s no Ferrari but tows the boat with ease, and handles surprisingly well.

    • Nebman

      Rumour is that Toyota pre-registered a bunch to keep the numbers up. Not sure it’s ever been verified though. Will be interesting to see how it goes this year as Toyota supply Fonterra so there’s every chance the Hilux will be back when RD1 ditch their BT50’s for Hilux’s.

      The telling thing for me was how close the Ranger was to being the top selling vehicle out right. 3000 of the Corolla’s were to rental companies updating their fleets.

  • Nebman

    I’ve got clients using all the modern utes in heavy industry, quarrying and construction and the basic summary’s are as follows;

    Ranger / BT 50 top of the heap but go with the auto as the manual is a dog.
    VW Amarok – next best but towing the really big loads puts the auto under stress
    Navara – loads of grunt but getting old
    Triton – breaks chassis’s towing bigger loads that it is supposed to be rated for. Two that I know of but they were under extremes.
    Hilux – under powered, no diff lock and basically old.

    Apparently the new Hilux this year is either not being re-powered or has a euro sourced 2 litre turbo. It’s not that the Hiluz suddenly became a bad truck. it’s just been swamped by the arrival of some very good ones.

    I’m onto my second Ranger – picked up on Christmas Eve and can’t speak highly enough of it. 4wd, 6 speed auto and it flies. And Ford have fixed my one bugbear with them by finally putting a diff lock on it so I’m stoked!

    • johcar

      Where does the Colorado fit in that list?

      • Nebman

        Above the Triton and Hilux but if you ever look at the power figures they quote there is an “*” next to them. They have to detune the engine for the manual gearbox. The auto gets the full fruit output they quote though.

        They are noisy and not as refined on road as the Ranger/BT50 though. Offroad still no diff lock. Like all Holdens they have their army of rabid loony fans unlike us sane and balanced Ford people…..we’re not different at all…..

      • Missionary

        REcent off-road mag did an assessment on the top 4×4 utes in NZ. 6th was the D-Max, 5th was the Hilux just in front, 4th was the Colorado, 3rd was the BT-50, 2nd was the Amrok and 1st was the Ranger. Tritons and Navarra’s didn’t figure – neither the Asian stuff.

  • Miguel

    Since 2005, the Hilux has been for townies – the ‘beefed’ up look was completely unnecessary, and was made to make a working vehicle look like a crass US SUV. I wish fleet sales were removed from sales figures, too – fleet buyers get big discounts, so it’s not comparing apples with apples to contract individuals parting with their own money to fleet buyers who get bulk discounts. Toyota appears popular, but they discount hard-core for large fleets in order to keep up said appearance.

  • Rob

    Hilux sold more 4*4 than Ford. There were large numbers of 2 wheel drive fords sold. Good luck with the Fords when they get a few Ks on. My neighbour is a contractor who has lots of Hiluxs, he bought a couple of fords but is going back to Hilux. I have had 2 brand new fords (not rangers) and they had major issues about 50k

    • Have at least 5 friends / acquaintances with Rangers, ages between new and getting serious km’s on and a mix of private and work vehicles, all very happy with them (so far)

    • IanGreg

      Be interesting to know what % of the market is 2WD vs 4WD… I would almost put money on it that the bulk of the market for BOTH models is the 2WD.

  • Randy Thaddeus Prosepon

    Just a note on utes – beware Mitsubishi. I took my Triton to Simon Lucas North Shore in December, they replaced the brakes with faulty pirate parts on the sly, the brakes started playing up and the wheel bolts fell out. MMNZ doesn’t give a toss beyond platitudes and Simon Lucas, dealer principal, prefers being on holiday to sorting it out. Stick to a Ranger or a Hilux if you like aftersales care (and original parts).

  • 2rotorbro

    The local provincial dealer very bent out of shape that our ranger came from the next province over. Warranty & servicing work can be testy.

  • sandalwood789

    What about the ol’ Landrover IIa?
    My sister had one on the farm and it was *great* fun to drive. A pity that that series is no longer being made.
    What are the present-day Landrovers like?

  • Neil

    good to see youre finding ways to increase income for the blog