Furthermore, light commercial vehicles attained a mammoth 21 per cent share of the total market, compared to SUVs (39.4) and passenger cars (37).
As has become increasingly familiar, the Toyota HiLux was the overall number one with 4245 sales, ahead of the Ford Ranger in second (3845) and Mitsubishi Triton (2670), with the Toyota Corolla and Mazda 3 finishing third and fourth.
However, Ford will be satisfied with knowing that it remains the leader in the more profitable 4x4 ute sector with 3304 sales compared to 3115 for the HiLux. The Toyota more than doubled the Ford's 4x2 sales (1130 versus 541).
In the case of both the Ranger and HiLux, a significant proportion (more than 50 per cent) of the 4x4 sales are high-end XLT/Wildtrak and SR5 models, which retail for $55,000 and above.
Next were the Holden Colorado on 1927, Nissan Navara on 1784, Isuzu D-Max on 1424, Mazda BT-50 on 1331, Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series on 817, Volkswagen Amarok on 760 and Holden Ute on 300.
Minnows include the Foton Tunland on 46, Great Wall Steed on 48, RAM 2500 and 3500 on 40 and the axed Nissan Patrol on 25.
On an annual basis, light commercials are only up 1.3 per cent to 52,446 units, though the total market has declined about 2 per cent. YTD sales of the HiLux are 10,333 (number one overall) compared to 9398 for the Ranger (fourth). The Ranger is ahead in 4x4, however.
As a result of the ute boom, Thailand (where all the main utes bar the Amarok are made) is also ensconced as our number-two vehicle trading partner after Japan, with 67,581 sold units this year coming from the south-east Asian nation.
MARCH TOP 20 MODELS
Listen to the CarAdvice team discuss the March car sales below, and catch more like this at caradvice.com/podcast.