SHE’S MY UTE
A new generation of luxury utes is about to hit the market
IT could be the most expensive ute in Australia but cashed-up tradies are already putting down deposits on the new Mercedes-Benz ute — six months before it goes on sale and without knowing the price.
But one thing is certain, it won’t be getting grubby on worksites or carrying rubbish.
The German brand’s first tradie-mobile arrives in showrooms in April 2018 to cash in on the boom in super-luxury utes.
The Mercedes X Class will be one of five mega utes to be released by this time next year, with Ford, Holden, Toyota and Volkswagen also planning models that will eclipse $70,000.
More than 7000 buyers have registered their interest online for the new Merc, which is actually based on a Nissan Navara, albeit with extensive changes and a completely unique body.
Ken Noble from Sydney’s northern beaches, who has owned five Toyota HiLux utes over the past 20 years, was the first person in Australia to order the new Mercedes ute.
“As soon as I saw the photos I went in and put my money down,” Mr Noble said.
“I haven’t even ordered the colour yet, I just wanted to make sure I didn’t miss out.”
As with many owners of modern utes, Mr Noble doesn’t plan on carrying too much in the back. “I might get some firewood in winter,” he said.
Tradies enjoying the construction boom, families and luxury car owners are the driving force behind the surge in sales, according to industry data.
The latest utes are more comfortable to drive than they were a decade ago and are gaining upto-date safety features as each new model goes on sale.
The rise in demand comes as the Toyota HiLux is on track to become Australia’s top selling car for the second year in a row, ahead of the Ford Ranger.
Never before in Australian automotive history have two utes topped the annual sales charts.
So far this year the Toyota HiLux leads the new car market with more than 39,000 sales, ahead of the Ford Ranger (35,600), Toyota Corolla (31,000), Mazda3 (27,000) and Hyundai i30 (25,000), according to the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries.
In an attempt to cash in, several brands are poised to introduce utes next year that will push prices beyond $70,000.
Ford has released teaser images of its upcoming Ranger Raptor with desert-racer styling and suspension, Holden Special Vehicles will introduce a beefedup version of the Colorado and Toyota is preparing a TRD HiLux that’s more than just a limited edition accessories pack.
Volkswagen sells Australia’s most expensive ute in the class at just under $70,000 but is planning a power upgrade for its flagship Amarok’s turbo diesel V6 to thwart new rivals.
More than half of Australia’s top-selling utes are the most expensive versions, costing more than $50,000 — before accessories are added. A decade ago, most utes sold below $50,000.
Ken Noble has put in an order for the new Mercedes X-Class ute. The leather interior of the Mercedes-Benz X-Class ute.