The much debated Clean Car Discount clearly has New Zealand’s high volume of ute sales in its sights. So therefore, it’s no surprise that the country’s top ute-selling distributors, Ford and Toyota, have found common ground.
A Ford New Zealand spokesperson told NZ Autocar that they fear the cost of the Clean Car Discount to ute buyers is going to simply be “an added cost to NZ businesses”. They added that, fresh off receiving plenty of customer feedback from the Fieldays agriculture expo in Hamilton, there’s plenty of confusion among buyers.
“It’s early days and there is still a lot of confusion around it. As a manufacturer we, along with the government, have a responsibility to help customers understand the system, the rebates and fees, and how it works. It’s not just a simple one-off fee across the board,” the spokesperson said.
“Being based on emissions, it’s going to vary according to engine, transmission, 4WD, 2WD. For example, our 2.0L biturbo, 10 speed transmission incurs less of a fee and again less when on a 2WD. And then our new Escape PHEV gets the rebate.
“We’re working with our internal teams as well as external [teams] like the VTNZ to make sure the right information gets out there.”
The spokesperson said Ford New Zealand agreed with Toyota New Zealand’s appraisal and response to prime minister Jacinda Ardern’s comments from last week about the availability of electric utes locally.
Ardern told The AM Show that electric utes from the country’s biggest brands will be available locally within 12 to 24 months. Toyota and now Ford have both refuted this, with Ford also questioning Ardern’s quote around ute owners who don’t use their utilities for ‘legitimate’ reasons.
“All that aside, we’d agree with Toyota. No news from us regarding EV utes in the next 12-24 months. Not sure where the PM is getting her advice but it might need some recalibration,” the spokesperson added.
“We also know the vast majority of our Ranger customers are in fact using them for very legitimate purposes. We know because we asked them. Again the politicians might want to talk to ute drivers anywhere outside of Wellington.
“Until there is an alternative, unfortunately it’s just going to be an added cost to NZ businesses – passed along ultimately to their customers and in resale of utes.”
To date, none of the country’s most popular ute manufacturers have announced any kind of electrified ute for the New Zealand market. Only LDV and Great Wall Motors (GWM) have indicated that such a model is coming, with the former’s fully electric T60 now delayed due right-hand drive production having not yet started.
For Ford, a hybrid Ranger seems all but confirmed for the European market given that it will be selling exclusively PHEV and EV models there by 2026, before going fully electric in the region by 2030. Time will tell, as well the upcoming reveal of the next-generation Ranger.