The Great Mystery Creek Marketing War looks to have started early this year.
Mitsubishi has fired the opening salvo with an announcement that it is about to introduce a special edition Triton ute that will cost thousands less than the standard models when it goes on sale at the end of this month.
The vehicle has been named ChargerX, and it is essentially a 4WD double-cab GLX which has been specced up to the level of the top-of-the-range GLS.
Mitsubishi New Zealand is promoting the ute with a price of $35,990 plus GST and on-road costs, which it says will make it the best-value ute at the coming New Zealand Agricultural Fieldays, an event legendary for the motor vehicle price discounting that goes on as the car companies vie for farmer business.
The event, which lays claim to being the biggest trade show in the Southern Hemisphere, opens on June 13.
However, at this point let's back up the ute a little. That's because, while there's no argument the pricing of the new Triton ChargerX is sharp, its launch appeals as an even sharper marketing exercise.
Why? While the $51,090 and $54,190 listed prices for the Triton GLX and GLS double-cab 4WD utes are GST inclusive, the published price for the ChargerX is GST exclusive. If that 15 per cent is added, the price goes up to $41,388 which in effect makes the ute a GLX with a $10,000 discount - which is almost identical to what I'm told the average buyer is going to be able to ask of a GLX as a Fieldays special anyway.
But it is also true that the Triton ChargerX is quite a bit more than a GLX.
While the ute continues to have the GLX version's EasySelect four- wheel-drive system rather than the SuperSelect system that is aboard the GLS, and still has 16-inch alloys instead of 17-inch versions, the ChargerX has pinched a wealth of cosmetic goodies from the top model.
On the outside, these include the GLS' front grille, chrome rear bumper, sports side steps, and chromed exterior mirrors and door handles.
The GLX ladder rack has also been removed in the interests of a sportier look.
On the inside, the ChargerX gets a leather-trimmed steering wheel, carpet replaces vinyl on the floor, there are silver surrounds on the dash, door trim and centre console, and there are ChargerX floor mats.
How much is all that worth? Dunno. But the level of specification does make it difficult to argue against Mitsubishi NZ's claim that this is the best-value price ever seen in New Zealand for a sport-specification ute equipped with electronic stability and traction control and a full set of six airbags.
The one-tonne-payload ChargerX will also continue to produce 407 Nm of torque from its 2.5 litre turbodiesel, and can tow a three-tonne braked trailer.
So that's the first shot fired across the bows of the other ute manufacturers in an annual Fieldays vehicle sales war that always sees customers bombarded with so many convincing specials that each year it causes a big spike in New Zealand's national vehicle sales statistics.
Now we can all sit back to see what comes next!
- Taranaki Daily News
Do you own or rent your home?Related story: Renting no joke for older flatmates
Get Taranaki's frequent news and sport updates
Choose an iconic Taranaki photo as wallpaper for your computer
Astronomer Tom Whelan explains what is in the Taranaki heavens for each month.