Sales of Utes in May indicated that the vehicle type continued to be the most popular car among drivers in New Zealand, according to the Motor Industry Association (MIA).
A trio of brands comprising Ford Ranger, Toyota Hilux and Mitsubishi Triton models accounted for most of the sales, which totalled 13,132 new vehicle registrations during the month. MIA President Glynn Tulloch said that the trend will so far continue in 2017 with no signs of slowing down.
Kiwis are so fond of Utes that these should be tagged as passenger cars instead of commercial vehicles. Registrations for passenger cars rose 11.8 per cent in May year-on-year, whilst commercial sales increased 29 per cent in the same period.
Since it began tracking data in 1975, the MIA said that sales in May represented the strongest record for new vehicles during the month, thanks to the popularity of Utes. For suppliers of car parts in Auckland, Wellington and other cities, the new registrations will mean more business, as people will need equipment and accessories at a certain point.
As car sales continue to increase, the government has explored ways to embrace new technology, such as self-driving cars.
Associate Transport Minister Tim Macindoe said that the government has begun working on a pilot project for smart vehicles. It plans to lure offshore car companies to test the technology in the country, as the development of Autonomous vehicles could gain momentum in the next decade.
Whilst this new breed of cars are deemed safer and more efficient, uncertainty on uniform legal standards still poses a concern. As it uses digital tools, software hacking is another issue.
Automated technology in vehicles will still take a long time before it becomes a common sight on roads. The popularity of Utes will continue since not all drivers are convinced of using Autonomous cars, given that these vehicles are currently in the testing phase.