America’s mind-boggling ute sales
IF UTE SALES ARE AT RECORD LEVELS IN NEW ZEALAND, ponder the sheer scale of the corresponding market in the United States.
On a sales per head of population basis, ute/pick-up sales here are ahead of the US, but because of the size of the American population, the sheer numbers of trucks sold there is massive.
In some parts of the country, notably Texas, pick-up trucks rule the sales charts.
In Texas the category is so important that the big three – Ford, General Motors (Chevrolet and GMC) and Fiat Chrysler (Ram) – go all out with deals and model launches around the annual Texas State fair. Just as we do around Fieldays.
But it’s the numbers of trucks leaving US dealers’ yards that boggle the mind. Ford, for instance, reportedly sells an average of 2452 F-series trucks a day, or 102 an hour.
Each 24 hours GM moves 1935 Chevy Silverados and GMC Sierras and Ram sales are around 1647 a day.
Ford’s F-series has been America’s best-selling pick-up for 40 years and the best-selling vehicle overall for 35 years.
Ford has sold 26 million F-series since 1977, and sold 820,799 trucks in 2016.
F-series sales are well up on last year’s, leading some US commentators to suggest that the Blue Oval’s aim of selling a million trucks in a year may be achievable.
The ute romance is in full bloom in Australia, too, where the Toyota Hilux is now the best-selling new vehicle overall, just as the Ford Ranger is here. And Ranger registrations are on the rise in Oz, too, as buyers migrate from cars and wagons.
Then there are the comments from Mercedes-benz Vans Australia and New Zealand managing director, Diane Tarr, after the German manufacturer unveiled its X-class ute in July.
Tarr says the high level of interest from potential customers reflects “just how ingrained dual cab utes are in both the Australian and New Zealand culture.
“The fact is we love utes and we’re showing a desire to incorporate this type of vehicle into our lives in more ways than we did in the past. Not just for work, but also increasingly for private use.” Who’d have thought that even five years ago? SUVS now command more than 40 percent of the New Zealand new vehicle market according to the Motor Industry Association which represents vehicle distributors.
Our Aussie cousins share the same fascination. We’re not 100 percent sure why Holden went so far off the wall with its media release on its forthcoming Us-sourced Equinox and Acadia SUVS, but it goes like this:
“New-born babies may be cute but Australians don’t love them as much as they love their SUVS.
“In 2016, Australia said hello to a new baby every one minute and 41 seconds, but it said hello to a new SUV every one minute and 10 seconds, such is the surging popularity of the SUV market.”
Then it slipped into more serious mode, saying that in Oz, SUVS have for the first time ever, outsold passenger cars.
“This hasn’t always been the case, however. In 2006 there were just 171,000 SUVS sold in Australia, representing a meagre 20 percent of the Australian new car market.
“Fast forward 10 years to 2016 and that number has almost tripled to 441,000 SUV sales, or a staggering almost 40 percent of the total market.” Which means? We’re outdoing our ANZAC mates yet again. But, being fair-minded, we’ll let Holden Australia have the last word “SUVS are more popular than ever and the segment just keeps on growing,” says Holden spin doctor, Sean Poppitt.
“Where once SUVS were seen as just the typical ‘soccer mum’ car, or for outback off-road adventures only, that’s no longer the case. Aussies love their SUVS…”
And so do we.
Holden’s new Us-sourced Equinox SUV – coming our way soon.