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The arrival of the new-generation Ford Ranger has the ute-loving population of Australia excited. And rightly so, commercial vehicles typically have long lifecycles that mean all-new models only arrive every decade (the outgoing Ranger launched back in 2012).
While a new HiLux isn’t due until 2023, the current model should have little trouble staying ahead of the pack until that arrives. There’s a simple reason for it, no rival can compete with the HiLux 4x2.
According to the latest VFACTS figures that cover up until the end of August, Toyota has sold 8060 examples of its HiLux 4x2. That’s almost twice as many as its closest competitor, which is not the Ranger but the Isuzu D-Max 4x2, with 4509 sales.
The Ranger may be able to often outsell the HiLux in the more expensive 4x4 segment of the market, but the dominance of the HiLux 4x2 means it will stay on top for the foreseeable future; unless Ford has something radical planned for its new generation Ranger 4x2.
That would likely have to begin with a price drop, because the current Ranger 4x2 line-up begins at $29,190 (plus on-road costs) for the XL Cab Chassis, which is $5600 more than the HiLux 4x2 Workmate Cab Chassis, which starts at $23,590.
But it’s not as simple as just being cheap. If it was, the Mitsubishi Triton would be selling better than the HiLux, because the Triton GLX Cab Chassis undercuts the Toyota with its $23,740 asking price; but has only sold 1888 4x2 year-to-date.
It seems reputation and brand play a major part in ute buying habits because not only does the HiLux trade on its reputation as a hard-working ute, the Isuzu D-Max is the second best-seller despite costing even more than the Ranger. The D-Max 4x2 range begins at $33,200 for its SX Single Cab Chassis, more than $4000 extra than the Ford.
Not even the new, cut-price utes from China have a chance to dent the HiLux on the sales charts. GWM has only sold 5498 utes, both 4x4 and 4x2, across both the out-going Steed and new Ute so far in 2021. The LDV T60 isn’t available as a 4x2 model and is a relative minnow in the current market.
No, the HiLux strength is its heritage and loyal following, so despite what its rivals throw at it there’s no reason to believe that Toyota’s top spot will be under threat anytime soon.