The Melbourne-designed Ford Ranger ute could end the Toyota HiLux’s seven-year unbeaten run as Australia’s annual bestseller.
The Ranger was No.1 in November, having also been the monthly bestseller in October, July, April, February and January.
The ute, designed in Melbourne but made in Thailand, has now been Australia’s top-selling vehicle for six out of 11 months, with the HiLux taking top spot for the five other months.
Should the Ford win another monthly sales race, Australia would have a new annual bestseller for the first time since 2016, when the HiLux ute replaced the Toyota Corolla as the new No.1.
It would also be the first Australian-designed car to win the annual sales race since the Holden Commodore in 2010, and it would be the first bestselling Ford since the locally-designed and built Falcon won in 1995.
Both of these models were available as a ute.
Last month, 6,301 Rangers were sold – 400 more than the HiLux tally of 5,901, Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries data showed.
In 2023 so far, the HiLux is still marginally ahead with 55,968 sales compared with 55,589 for the Ranger – with just 379 orders separating them.
The Ranger is a newer model that went on sale in 2022, with its sales 24 per cent stronger than a year ago, while the HiLux shape has been around since 2015 with a facelift in 2020.
The Melbourne-designed Ford Ranger ute could end the Toyota HiLux’s seven-year run as Australia’s annual bestseller
Utes took out the top three spots in November, with Isuzu D-Max in third place with 3,692 sales.
For the second month running, no sedan or hatch models were in the top 10, with passenger cars making up just 16 per cent of sales in November.
This phenomenon is occurring six years after Australia stopped making cars, with Holden, Ford and Toyota previously focused mainly on manufacturing traditional passenger sedans for government fleets.
By comparison, SUVs covering four-wheel drives and those with higher ground clearance had a 55.6 per cent market share, taking out seven out of the top 10 spots.
The all-electric Tesla Model Y was the bestselling SUV with 3,151 sales, putting it ahead of the soon-to-be replaced Toyota Prado (3,090 sales), Toyota RAV4 (2,449 sales), Toyota LandCruiser (2,423 sales), Mitsubishi Outlander (2,381 sales), Mazda CX-5 (2,256 sales) and the MG ZS (2,047 sales).
Higher interest rates have failed to dent the momentum in the car industry with 112,141 vehicles sold last month – a record for November.
But Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries chief executive Tony Weber said the momentum was unlikely to last.
‘As cost-of-living pressures hit we may see a market cooling in the coming months, and we anticipate a more challenging 2024,’ he said.
Should the Ford win another monthly sales race, Australia would have a new annual bestseller since 2016, when the HiLux ute (pictured) replaced the Toyota Corolla as the new No.1
So far this year, 1,118,236 vehicles have been sold with SUVs making up more than half or 627,187 of the overall sales.
Light commercials, covering utes and vans, were next with 248,546, putting it well ahead of passenger cars with 195,116 ordered.
Before 2016, Australia’s annual number one had only been a passenger car with the Australian-made Commodore having the crown from 1996 to 2010 before the Mazda3 in 2011 became the first fully-imported annual bestseller.
A Ford Ranger plug-in hybrid is coming to Australia in early 2025.
Tesla is yet to announce if the Cybertruck ute will be made for right-hand drive markets like Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Japan and Thailand.