Now that we’re acclimatised to the idea of a light commercial being the nation’s top-selling vehicle for a calendar year, we can watch the market with a different set of eyes.
We’re only one month into 2017, but the January figures for ute sales make for interesting reading, mostly on account of the ever-growing Toyota HiLux versus Ford Ranger battle — billed by some as the new Commodore v Falcon rivalry.
All told, the HiLux finished third in overall market sales and the Ranger fourth, both behind only the Mazda 3 and Toyota Corolla. This is a good result considering fleet sales (often a commercial vehicle strength) are traditionally weak in the first month back.
In the flagship 4x4 ute sales race, though, it was the Ford that was king. The company sold 2221 Ranger 4x4s, most of them XLT and Wildtrak variants priced at $60k and above drive-away, ahead of the HiLux 4x4 on 1964, a large amount of which were the SR5.
Completing the picture were the Mitsubishi Triton (974), Nissan Navara 4x4 (802), Mazda BT-50 4x4 (709), Volkswagen Amarok (577, though expect a spike as V6 deliveries begin to roll out in greater numbers), Isuzu D-Max (498) and Toyota LandCruiser 70 (441).
The D-Max’s result is well down on its average, but keep in mind the fact that stocks of extant MY16 cars are clearing ahead of the arrival of an updated model in the next week or so.
All up, 4x4 ute sales actually dropped 3.8 per cent to 9636 units (11.3 per cent total market share) over January 2016’s figure.
Meanwhile, in the budget 4x2 sales race, it was the Toyota HiLux that was the champion with 738, ahead of the Ranger (401), BT-50 (385), Holden Ute (312), D-Max (213), Triton (181), Navara (164), Colorado (125), Amarok (50) and Ford Falcon (17).
All up, 4x2 ute sales dropped 7.1 per cent to 2602 units (3.1 per cent total market share).
Smaller-volume utes included the Great Wall Steed (total of 21), Foton Tunland (58), SsangYong Actyon Sports (1) and Ram 2500/3500 Laramie (15).