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2013: Year of the Ute

2013: Year of the Ute

Award-Winning Ford Ranger leads the charge with a 75 per cent year-on-year sales increase

AUCKLAND, 9 January 2014 – Seen a lot of Ford Rangers on the road lately? It’s no coincidence. There are more. Heaps more. In fact, the Ford Ranger has seen by far the greatest year-on-year growth of any of the top five vehicles sold in New Zealand in 2013 – a 75 per cent increase over 2012 sales figures.

Corey Holter, Managing Director of Ford New Zealand, attributes the spectacular growth to a number of factors, the first being that the Ford Ranger has fundamentally changed just what a ute means to New Zealanders.

“While still classed in the industry as a commercial vehicle, customers have found the Ford Ranger to excel equally on the job-site or at home providing a comfortable, safe vehicle for the family,” said Holter. “It’s great around town, the farm or heading out to the beach with the boat in tow.”

The ability of the Ford Ranger to successfully multi-task was recognised shortly after it launched in New Zealand when it became the first ute to win AMI and NZ Autocar’s Overall Car of the Year award.

Another reason for the spectacular rise in the Ford Ranger is that the vehicle was designed and engineered from the start to outperform current and future competitors.

“It’s rare in the automotive world when you get to design an all new vehicle; entirely new from the ground up. The team that worked on creating the all new Ranger took that opportunity and created a truck to surpass all benchmarks in the segment. They also refined the vehicle so it appealed to a wider audience,” said Holter. “They produced a Ranger with better capability, performance, great design and with 5-Star safety.”

“It’s a very competitive market for utes in New Zealand but Kiwis know a good thing when they see it. Our dealers tell us on a regular basis about customers who for years, some 30-plus even, have driven the same brand ute but who have now switched to the Ford Ranger because it’s simply the better, safer truck. We love hearing those stories.”

Holter also attributes the success of the Ford Ranger to having better supply in 2013 to meet the incredible demand. But while supply has been better it was still not ideal.

“We’ve had a healthier supply in 2013 to help meet customer demand. That said, there were some variants of Ranger where demand outstripped supply, including our hero model - the Ranger Wildtrak. We really appreciate the patience of our customers. Our main focus in 2013 was getting our customers the vehicles they want.”

5-Star Ranger – Still no safer ute
The ability to take the family on holiday after a tough day on the job site has also meant a shift in what New Zealanders look for in a ute. Safety is now a must. With the Ford Ranger, there is no safer ute.

It’s still the only ute in New Zealand’s top five utes to have a 5-Star Euro NCAP and 5-Star ANCAP safety rating across the entire range, including the most popular variant in the segment - the double cab. The double cab ute accounts for more than 80 per cent of all sales and the Ford Ranger has a 5-Star safety rating for both 4WD and 2WD versions.

“New Zealanders are certainly more safety conscious now when it comes to choosing vehicles,” said Holter. “And they appreciate all the safety features with the Ford Ranger, especially now that it has successfully bridged the gap between work vehicle and family vehicle.”

Looking ahead
The forecast for 2014 is looking even more positive than 2013 with economists claiming New Zealand will experience some of the highest growth in the OECD. This will further grow the new car market according to Holter as it did in 2013.

“Our initial forecast for the year sees sales increasing even more – for Ford and the industry as a whole. If the growth continues as expected, we see overall new car sales numbers approaching the 115,000 mark.”

As for the Ford Ranger, Holter see the success continuing into 2014.

“Our competition is not standing still. There are plenty of options out there for New Zealanders and plenty of deep discounts from competitors. But New Zealanders are choosing the Ford Ranger again and again because it’s quite simply the better truck. The Ford Ranger is smart and refined yet more than tough enough to handle whatever you throw at it.”

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