What are we buying? NZ's most popular utes, SUVs, EVs and hybrids so far for 2021
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We're just past the half-way point of the year. With a massive curve ball throw into the New Zealand new-vehicle market in July in the form of the Clean Car Discount for EVs, and the twin threat of looming "feebate" fines for high-emitting vehicles in 2022 and long delivery times (meaning you could order now and not get your new vehicle until next year), it's time to take a look at how Kiwi buyers have responded to a changing market.
Here, we're taking a look at the most popular new vehicles in NZ year-to-date in four key categories: utes, SUVs, plug-ins (including BEVs and PHEVs) and petrol-electric hybrids (the ones without plugs).
THE TOP UTES OF 2021
Will it surprise you to learn that there's been an explosion in Ford Ranger orders in the wake of the Clean Car scheme? It shouldn't. Ute buyers are now acutely aware of looming fines in 2022 for higher-emissions vehicles (over 192g/km) pending legislation, and there's a race to beat those and long delivery times to get new utes on the road before the end of the year.
We're already reported that Ford NZ is taking up to 100 orders for Rangers per day, and the company took advantage of a good supply arrangement to rack up record registrations in July, making a major contribution to 6553 sales year-to-date. There's more to come, as those July sales don't even reflect the feebate panic - most of those vehicles would have been ordered back in April.
Supply is surely affecting the rival Toyota Hilux, which is now 1000 units behind at 5585. So much for our 2020 prediction that this could be the year where the Toyota takes back the lead...
Still, between them Ranger and Hilux are still the top two selling new vehicles in the land.
THE TOP SUVs OF 2021
Mitsubishi has a couple of big-selling plug-models, but when it comes to mainstream SUVs it's clear that people simply like a bargain. The Japanese maker's ASX lacks the modernity of the similarly-sized Eclipse Cross, but good looks and pricing that starts at just $27,990 are ensuring huge sales volume for the high-riding hatch.
Supply still hampers the evergreen Toyota RAV4, especially the hybrid models, but it's maintaining a solid second place.
The ASX value argument equally apples to the Mitsubishi Outlander, although it also gets a boost (in many ways) from the in-demand PHEV version.
THE TOP PLUG-INS (INCLUDING BEV AND PHEV) OF 2021
The Tesla Model 3 continues to absolutely dominate the EV segment in NZ, thanks partly to the Government Clean Car Discount ($8625 for BEVs) that applied from July. But not completely; only one model (the Standard Range Plus) is below the $80k rebate cap and in fact Tesla sold more Threes in June than July. It just does consistently well.
The MG ZS EV is different. Already NZ's cheapest BEV, sales of the little SUV exploded when the Clean Car Discount was introduced: 188 registrations in July, compared with the previous best month of 59 (in March).
The top three (click for listings): Tesla Model 3 (903), MG ZS EV (427), Mitsubishi Outlander (347).
THE TOP HYBRIDS OF 2021
With generous rebates available for low-emitting vehicles from 2022, it would be natural to expect a slowdown in hybrid sales following the announcement of the Clean Car "feebate" scheme. Why register now when you could get thousands of dollars back from January?
However, hybrid sales have remain strong through July (higher than every other month of 2021 except for May).
It's a clean sweep for Toyota as per usual, led by the in-demand RAV4 hybrid, with a big step back to the Corolla hybrid and C-HR hybrid.
The top non-Toyota hybrid is the new Honda Jazz e:HEV, which has made a huge impact (296 sales in three months) despite only being available in flagship $35k Luxe form. The Suzuki Swift hybrid is another quiet achiever (278).