Sales of the Ram 1500 and Chevrolet 1500 outpaced the rest of the new-car market and hit new highs as buyers bought a record number of full-size pick-ups from the US.
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Sales of US pick-ups in Australia continue to go from strength to strength, with the Ram 1500 and the Chevrolet Silverado posting their best results since being introduced locally.

Ram Trucks Australia recorded its best monthly sales result since being established in Australia five years ago, with 604 vehicles reported as sold in June 2020, an increase of 130 per cent in a new-car market that was down by 6.4 per cent.

The Chevrolet Silverado also had its best month since the nameplate began being imported, remanufactured and distributed by Holden Special Vehicles five years ago, with 237 examples reported as sold, more than double the same month last year, according to a confidential dealer bulletin obtained by CarAdvice.

The importer and distributor of Ram Trucks Australia Neville Crichton said many dealers ran out of stock towards the end of the month.

“We could have sold more but we can't build them fast enough, we're selling every one we can get our hands on,” said Mr Crichton. “We have cars coming every month (from the US) but it's difficult to get any additional allocation because Ram is also doing so well in the US.”

A spokesman for Holden Special Vehicles, which distributes Chevrolet vehicles in Australia, said: “We're delighted with our sales across all model lines and we're now working overtime to source additional vehicles.”

It was the best monthly result for Holden Special Vehicles since December 2008, when sales of all Chevrolet models and remaining HSV Colorado SportsCats are combined (total 522).

The runaway success of US pick-ups in Australia has prompted Ram to consider importing the soon-to-be-released high-performance Ram TRX, a rival to the Ford F-150 Raptor.

Last week, Ram Trucks Australia told CarAdvice: “We’re interested in every new model from Ram. We are looking to expand our Ram business in Australia. Any vehicle that we can convert here, we will look at.”

Ram Trucks Australia is expected to roll out the new generation 'DT' series Ram 1500 (pictured below) in early 2021 – to sell alongside the current 'DS' series Ram 1500 Classic – once development work and crash testing on the locally remanufactured right-hand-drive model is complete.

Both the DT and DS series Ram 1500 pick-ups will be sold alongside each other in Australia and the US for at least the next two to three years, giving the brand two different price points.

In the meantime, Ford Australia says there are no plans to introduce the F-150 locally – either as a converted vehicle or factory right-hand-drive – and Nissan is still investigating ways to bring the Titan to Australia.

The current generation Toyota Tundra has all but been ruled out for Australia, but there may be a chance with the next generation due in a few years because it will reportedly be based on a new global platform. However Toyota Australia says while there is interest and a desire to sell the Tundra locally, nothing has been confirmed.

Meanwhile, the local Ram assembly line is running 24 hours a day, five days a week to keep up with demand. And there could soon be a shortage of the Ram 1500 and Chevrolet 1500 due to factory shutdowns in the US during the coronavirus crisis.

Both the Ram 1500 and Chevrolet Silverado 1500 are remanufactured in right-hand-drive to factory standards under the same roof in Melbourne – by the Walkinshaw Automotive Group, the parent company of HSV – and come with full factory warranty and support, full volume compliance for Australia, and have been crash tested locally to validate the extensive engineering changes.

A number of smaller independent companies that convert other brands of US pick-ups – such as the Ford F-150, Toyota Tundra and Nissan Titan – also reported strong sales and enquiries in June 2020.

However their data is not provided to the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries – and not officially counted among new-car sales – as they are not considered factory-backed operations, and the vehicles are not sold through mainstream showrooms in Australia.