Good Oil: Imagine a world where the Ford Ranger doesn't rule
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New Zealand doesn’t design or manufacture cars – it’s a technology taker rather than a maker. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have own weirdly specific tastes.
As an exercise in contrast, consider the United Kingdom’s just-announced top-selling vehicles for 2020. Number one was the Ford Fiesta hatchback, a type of small car now considered so niche in NZ that Ford only offers it to Kiwis in sporty top-specification ST guise, with a rorty three-pot turbo engine and manual transmission.
Fiesta has actually been top in the UK for 12 years and in 2020 Ford sold 49,000 of them – enough to serve roughly half of NZ’s new-vehicle market on its own. If said market wanted loads of supermini-sized hatchbacks. Which it doesn’t, really.
Number two in the UK was a van. Not a ute. A van. And actually it was another Ford, the evergreen Transit, which clocked up 47,500 sales in its various guises.
As we all know, the Ford Ranger has been NZ’s top-selling single model for years and will certainly be again for 2020, although at the time of writing we don’t have final figures for the year.
Ranger is actually also the top-selling ute in the UK, although annual sales for 2020 were just 13,097 – not a whole lot above a good year for the model in NZ (9485 in 2019, probably more like 8000 for 2020) when you consider the vastly different sizes of each total market.