Ranger rides high

The Courier-Mail - Motoring - - Bush & Beach - JOSHUA DOWL­ING NA­TIONAL MO­TOR­ING EDITOR

THE Ford Ranger has claimed a rare vic­tory over the Toy­ota HiLux, over­tak­ing the na­tion’s top-selling pick-up for the first time in Au­gust.

The Ranger mod­els, reardrive and 4WD, com­bined to tally 140 sales ahead of the Toy­ota last month, selling 2096 to the HiLux’s 1956. It was only the third month in the past three years the HiLux has been beaten — Mit­subishi’s Tri­ton took the lead last De­cem­ber and Nissan’s Navara out­sold it in Jan­uary 2012.

Au­gust was the first time Ford has claimed a Toy­ota scalp on any ve­hi­cle in more than a decade.

The last time a new gen­er­a­tion HiLux ar­rived — in March 2005 — Toy­ota ran out of stock dur­ing the switch be­tween old and new mod­els and the Holden Rodeo and Navara out­sold it.

Aus­tralia’s favourite work­horse for the past 30-plus years, the HiLux still has a com­fort­able lead in year-to­date sales, 23,316 ver­sus the Ranger’s 18,253.

Ford is savour­ing the Au­gust vic­tory but the cel­e­bra­tions prob­a­bly will be short-lived. The HiLux is ex­pected to get a sales boost with the ar­rival of the new model next month.

Toy­ota cleared out the $19,990 HiLux tradie utes, cit­ing the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment’s re­cent tax in­cen­tive for small busi­nesses to claim a one-off de­duc­tion on “tools of trade” up to $20,000, rather than have the re­funds spread out over eight years.

Toy­ota was one of the few brands with a suit­able ve­hi­cle un­der the $20,000 thresh­old — but the tax an­nounce­ment caught it un­pre­pared.

“We ba­si­cally ran out of them in June,” says sales and mar­ket­ing boss Tony Cramb. “We couldn’t have pre­dicted what the gov­ern­ment was about to do.

“It def­i­nitely stim­u­lated de­mand of that par­tic­u­lar model. Within a cou­ple of months they were gone.”

Re­flect­ing on the Ranger clos­ing the gap to the HiLux, Cramb says there is “room for ev­ery­one”.

HiLux sales are in their third year in a row of de­cline and are likely to fin­ish about 10 per cent less than the peak of nearly 43,000 in 2008. Toy­ota says it has sold 320,000 ex­am­ples of the out­go­ing model.

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