Sales of the Toyota HiLux, Ford Ranger and Ram pick-ups from the US surged as the rest of the car industry hit the brakes.
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Australia’s favourite workhorse utes are increasingly being used as weekend getaway cars.

That’s the assessment from industry insiders trying to explain the unexpected surge in the sales of utes such as the Toyota HiLux, Ford Ranger, and full-size US pick-ups such as the Ram 1500.

“People can’t travel overseas so they’re treating themselves to a new car instead, and choosing one they can take on holidays here,” said a veteran car dealer with more than 20 years in the trade.

“A lot of people are coming in to look at a four-wheel-drive but are leaving in a ute,” the multi-franchise dealer said. “We’ve sold out of most (options) and we’re now waiting on fresh stock. It’s unbelievable. I don’t think any of us would have predicted this.”

While Ford has good supply of the Ranger, Toyota HiLux stock is only just beginning to arrive.

Some customers have been put off by the Toyota HiLux’s price rises of up to $13,000, but one dealer said many customers don’t care. “They look at the repayments and not the price, they’re happy,” said the Toyota dealer.

Meanwhile, Ram Trucks Australia has a three-month waiting list for its models – despite the $100,000 price tag – but the Melbourne conversion facility is working around the clock to increase production.

Local conversions of the Chevrolet Silverado pick-up out of the US were paused in the grip of the lockdowns, but operations are ramping up ahead of the arrival of General Motors Specialty Vehicles (GMSV).

Against the odds – and a market slowdown of 20 per cent – sales of Australia’s top two selling vehicles, the Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger, increased by 7 per cent and 20 per cent respectively in September 2020. Sales of Ram 1500 pick-ups have increased by 29.5 per cent year-to-date.

The Ford Ranger’s sales surge was enough to knock the Toyota HiLux out of the top sales spot for the first time in three years.

It was only the second time the Ford Ranger has led the new-car market outright, after winning top spot in September 2017.

The last time a Ford led the Australian new-car market before this was the Falcon in August 2005.

Top 10 car brands in September 2020

RankBrandVolume September 2020Change year-on-year
1Toyota12,936down 14.7 per cent
2Mazda7000down 14.3 per cent
3Hyundai5273down 27.2 per cent
4Kia5092down 0.7 per cent
5Ford4816up 0.7 per cent
6Mitsubishi4179down 53.5 per cent
7Volkswagen3493down 8.5 per cent
8Nissan2588down 44.4 per cent
9Mercedes-Benz2395down 10.7 per cent
10Subaru2121down 39.4 per cent

Source: Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries.

Top 25 brands for September 2020

Top 25 models for September 2020