Who Will Win Ute Wars?
In the ute sales competition, Ford Ranger has secured the leadership and it has outsold Mazda’s BT-50 by five to one. It looks like the long marriage-for-convenience between the two companies is going to end up in a divorce judging from the recent upgrades to the BT-50 and the Ranger. The Ranger has gone for some engineering improvements but it has significantly resulted into price increases. Mazda has opted for a few much needed design tweaks on the BT-50 with more affordable pricing. Will the improvement likely gain the much needed ute sales for Mazda?
Consumers of ute still have to make a judgment though it seems the slightly revised BT-50 offers better value than the highly trumped up incentives being offered by Toyota New Zealand on their soon-to-be-replaced Hilux.
At the recent launch of the improved BT-50 so much was said of the capped servicing plans at $200 each service with road assistance and price revisions. The price revisions are certainly welcome to consumers considering that a price drop of more than $1000 for each model is a big savings. However, it seems that a new Hilux can be secured with a longer warranty period of 5 years plus free servicing over the entire warranty period. This is not only a big dilemma for Mazda but for consumers since it makes the choice more difficult.
However, the real threat to BT-50 is not actually the new Hilux but another ute that will be introduced in New Zealand this November. It is a smaller version but with a more powerful turbo-diesel engine that Toyota hopes will boost performance and efficiency. The cabin equipment resembles that of a passenger car standard with lower break even points for the cost of ownership. New Zealand can expect a more aggressive marketing strategy on the cabin equipment. If you are going to pick a ute in the next few days, wait until Toyota shows its card; you might gain a better deal.
On the other hand, the war among car manufacturers is not really a concern because there are providers of handy ute rental. From these providers, you can make a choice for the best in the market without making an investment.