We’re buying loads of utes
‘Double duty’ vehicles are crowding the top 10
WORKING class heroes snatched three of the top 10 spots as utes continued to find plenty of friends last month.
The Toyota HiLux topped Australia’s official sales charts for the third straight month, powering ahead of the Mazda3, Toyota Corolla and Holden Cruze from the small-car class.
It was joined by the Nissan Navara in fifth and the Mitsubishi Triton in 10th as businesses raced to beat the end of the financial year— and cashed in big bonuses from most of the major makers.
Even the Falcon ute managed its best showroom effort in seven months, although it was a long way short of the top 10.
‘‘ We’re seeing a number of trends that influence the result for the HiLux,’’ Toyota Australia’s Mike Breen says.
‘‘ Utes have become much more car-like over the past 10 years, in comfort and safety, and more people are using them for double duty.
‘‘ So they might be primarily for work but they can also double as a family car.
‘‘ There has also been an underlying trend towards 4x4 pick-ups, with sales up by 127 per cent from 2002 until 2011.’’
But the HiLux also does well in showrooms because there is a model for nearly everyone, with 35 varieties of cabin size and layout, load space, engine choices and driveline options.
Breen says the surge in ute deliveries is partly because Japanese makers are still catching up with back orders from last year, when their Thai factories were flooded. There are also strong new arrivals, including the Ford Ranger, Mazda BT50 and vw’s Amarok. Outside the ute class, the June V facts figures reflected a constant pattern since the start of 2011, culminating with an alltime best result of 112,566 vehicles. Australia’s three car makers finally got a little good news, with year-to-date sales of the Ford Falcon-territory, Holden Commodore-Cruze and Toyota Camry-Aurion up by nearly 7000 on the halfway point of 2011.
On the downside, the Commodore slumped to its worst ranking, just eighth and even beaten by the Volkswagen Golf thanks to aggressive deals by the Germans. Ford is trumpeting the best result of the year for its Falcon, even though it is still heading for the worst result in the history of the nameplate, and the strongest sales in five years for the Territory SUV.
Makers are tipping a possible record in 2012, in the region of 1,080,000 sales.
Ute beaut: The Nissan Navara is one of the workers in the top 10