Ford Australia has taken to savaging Toyota in its recent marketing, continuously citing ways in which it claims its cars outgun those from the Japanese market leader.
When it launched the updated Ranger last year, Ford danced and sung about the "10 features not found in the current Toyota Hilux”. It also issued a press release headlined: “Australian-Developed Everest Range Packs Capability and 10 Key Customer Benefits Not Offered by Prado..."
While the merits of that campaign are up for argument — Toyota always politely declined to take the bait — it appears Ford at least has reason to be rather satisfied with this ploy, after a look at the January sales figures released today.
The Ranger’s 2418 sales compared to the HiLux’s 2341. It’s rare for the HiLux to finish anything other than first in ute sales. Ranger was the third top-selling vehicle for the month market-wide.
This is significant because both companies now have recently updated (Ranger) or new-generation (HiLux) models well and truly up and running.
Toyota Australia points out that January — not an overly fleet-heavy month — is always a quiet one for its dealers. The Ranger is a hit with private buyers, with a significant chunk going to the XLT and Wildtrak.
Meanwhile, the respective SUV derivatives of these Ford and Toyota utes are fighting a battle of their own, and Ford won again.
In January, the Ford Everest outsold the Toyota Fortuner, with 287 sales versus 274, though Toyota will tell you that its model has continuous supply issues. It’s also worth mentioning that the Everest and Fortuner were both outsold by the Isuzu MU-X (495) and the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport (336).
We would point out that Toyota still reigned as market leader, though with a fairly ordinary 12,453 units (down 8.8 per cent). Ford ended sixth with 5504, up 2.7 per cent.
What do you think? Can the Ranger keep the HiLux at bay for long? Will the Fortuner claw back ground?
Update: As has been pointed out, it's worth mentioning that the Everest's other stated rival, the Toyota Prado, was the nation's top-selling large SUV, with a massive 1094 units.