New Zealanders love cars so much that they have one of the highest ownership rates in the world. Despite the thousands that run across the country, only a few made an impact in its automotive history:
Petrolette and Lightning
If you haven’t heard of these cars before, it could be because they existed many, many years ago. They were the first two Benz-run vehicles in New Zealand. Wealthy businessman William McLean brought them from Europe in 1898 and soon began travelling the Wellington roads. In spite of being a hit in Europe, these motor cars were met with doubt, suspicion and even protest by the Kiwis. It’s possible the people of New Zealand during this period could not let go of their carriages and horses yet. It took several years before the demand for cars increased.
The Isuzu D-Max is one of the reliable pickup trucks. It was introduced in Australia and New Zealand in the early 2000s under a different name: Holden Rodeo. Later, it was known as Holden Colorado. In New Zealand, this pickup is an in-demand utility vehicle sold by Isuzu Utes NZ. The new models also include features with the Kiwis in mind. For example, they already have a powerful engine that allows it to climb effortlessly in hilly terrains.
Model T Ford
The Petrolette and Lightning might have been the first NZ cars, but it was the model T Ford that made a more significant impact in the country’s automotive industry. Produced by Ford, which is an American company, it was one of the first affordable vehicles in the world. It was also much easier to mass-produce. At least a thousand of them were in the country by 1912, only two years after it arrived.
Trekka was a source of pride for the Kiwis. It’s a utility vehicle with the farmers in mind. It was also the only locally produced ute that entered into commercial production for a certain period. It ran on a Skoda platform and was sold in countries such as Australia and Fiji. It met its end when the government eased restrictions on imports, and better foreign-made vehicles became cheaper.
These vehicles widely differ with regards to design, function and price. All together, they made significant contributions to the long car history in New Zealand.