The Toyota Hilux is about to rack up its 30th consecutive year as top-selling ute in New Zealand..
Steve Prangnell, Toyota’s general manager sales and operations, says customer loyalty to Hilux has been a hallmark of the Kiwi workhorse from the late 1970s right up to the re-designed 2012 version released four months ago.
“Hilux is a mainstay of heartland New Zealand, with more than 86,700 sold here since 1976. Given it’s going to be the 30-year anniversary of being number one, it’s perhaps fitting to say customers think the Hilux is a real Kiwi legend,” he said.
Toyota had sold 3,680 Hiluxes by the end of November – 1,500 more than its nearest competitor – and expects sales to top 3,800 for the year. Worldwide, Toyota sells more than 500,000 Hiluxes a year.
“The Hilux evolution has seen the addition of safety features such as air bags and stability control, plus a more modern interior and shape, but underneath is that famed unbreakable structure and design which has stood the test of time,” says he adds..
He says Hilux’s famed television campaigns have helped cement the truck’s status, from Barry Crump-era classics, through to Hercules the dog, the larrikin bulls, and this year’s ’Steak n Cheese’ sensation.
“A sense of self-deprecating humour is a Kiwi trait, and having some of the ads’ catch phrases enter our colloquial language is something Toyota treasures.”