HiLux ute is Aus­tralia’s num­ber one

Warwick Daily News - - LIFE - Iain Curry

AUS­TRALIA’s best-sell­ing car of 2016 is not a car at all, but Toy­ota’s HiLux ute. It’s the first time a ve­hi­cle other than a pas­sen­ger car has been the coun­try’s best seller for an en­tire cal­en­dar year.

The HiLux – sit­ting in the light com­mer­cial seg­ment – edged out Toy­ota’s and Aus­tralia’s best-seller for the pre­vi­ous three years, the Corolla small pas­sen­ger car. Aus­tralians bought 42,104 new HiLuxes and 40,330 new Corol­las in 2016.

Hyundai’s i30 se­cured third place with 37,772, next best ute and fourth over­all was Ford’s Ranger with 36,934 sales while Mazda’s 3 was fifth with 36,107.

The Fed­eral Cham­ber of Au­to­mo­tive In­dus­tries sales re­sults for the Aus­tralian au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try also re­vealed we bought more new cars than ever be­fore in 2016, high­light­ing cur­rent buyer con­fi­dence.

Aus­tralians pur­chased 1,178,133 new pas­sen­ger cars, SUVs and com­mer­cial ve­hi­cles last year, an in­crease of 2% on the 2015 cal­en­dar year record. It’s the third new car sales record in four years.

The main growth was in SUVs and light com­mer­cial ve­hi­cles, par­tic­u­larly dual cab util­i­ties like the Toy­ota HiLux and Ford Ranger. HiLux 4x4 sales were up nearly 20% over 2015, while the av­er­age in­crease across the seg­ment was nearly 10%.

High­light­ing how our buy­ing habits have changed, and how lux­ury and fea­tures-packed dou­ble cab utes have be­come in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar as fam­ily life­style ve­hi­cles, the range-top­ping HiLux SR5 was the big­gest-sell­ing grade and ac­counted for more than half of all HiLux 4x4 sales.

In pop­u­lar Dou­ble Cab pick-up guise with diesel en­gine, the SR5 costs from a not in­signif­i­cant $54,390 be­fore on-roads.

Toy­ota Aus­tralia’s ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor sales and mar­ket­ing Tony Cramb said the vic­tory by HiLux marked a sig­nif­i­cant turn­ing point in the Aus­tralian au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try.

“HiLux has made his­tory as the first ve­hi­cle of its type to stand on top of the sales podium in Aus­tralia be­cause it has broad ap­peal with the car-buy­ing pub­lic,” Mr Cramb said.

“As re­cently as 2011, the big­gest-sell­ing vari­ant was the 4x2 sin­gle cab-chas­sis in tough-as-nails Work­mate trim, a ve­hi­cle where “air-con­di­tion­ing” meant you opened win­dows.

“While de­mand for that vari­ant has not di­min­ished… we now sell al­most twice as many top-of-the-range 4x4 SR5 dou­ble cabs fit­ted with lux­ury fea­tures such as cli­mate-con­trol air-con­di­tion­ing, key­less en­try and ig­ni­tion, satel­lite nav­i­ga­tion and the op­tion of leather-ac­cented seats.”

The HiLux was the top-sell­ing ve­hi­cle in Queens­land for the 10th straight year, the top-seller in West­ern Aus­tralia for the ninth year in a row, and 16th con­sec­u­tive an­nual best seller in the North­ern Ter­ri­tory.

In more good news for Toy­ota, 2016 saw the Ja­panese brand be­ing sales leader in Aus­tralia for the 20th time in the past 26 years, in­clud­ing the past 14 years in a row.

PHOTO: TOY­OTA

PODIUM STARS: Toy­ota Aus­tralia's Tony Cramb with Aus­tralia’s best-sell­ing cars of 2016, the Toy­ota HiLux ute in first place and the Toy­ota Corolla just be­hind in se­cond place.

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