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Ford Ranger wins September sales race

A limited-edition Ranger, dubbed FX4, played a part in the Ford pick-up's September sales result of 4318 units.

Ford's ever-popular Ranger utility eclipsed its main rival, the Toyota HiLux, to become Australia's best-selling new model last month, according to official VFACTS data released today.

The Ranger tallied 4318 sales in September, representing a significant 48.7 per cent improvement over its then best-ever result in the same month last year.

This achievement came despite the second-placed HiLux lifting its volume by 19.1 per cent to 3822 units.

The pick-up pair were influential in increasing light-commercial vehicle sales by 8.1 per cent, but the overall market dipped by 2.4 per cent due to passenger car and SUV sales falling by 9.3 per cent and 1.3 per cent respectively.

While compact and mid-size SUV sales continue to grow steadily, large SUV volumes took a hit last month, decreasing by 12.5 per cent.

Nevertheless, the overall sales tally of 100,200 units was good enough for the third-best September in history.

Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) chief executive Tony Weber said: “Any month over 100,000 total sales has to be seen as a strong outcome, proving there is continued value for the consumer in the market.”

“To keep this outcome in perspective, it has to be remembered that the September results of 2015 and 2016 were both very strong, and both those years ended in records.”

The local market is currently 0.2 per cent ahead of 2016's year-to-date pace, putting it in position to achieve more than one million sales once again.

Toyota continued its long reign as brand sales champion, claiming pole position with 17,377 units, up 4.0 per cent, while life after local manufacturing looms large.

The Camry, which finished its Aussie production run this week, was one of three models from the Japanese carmaker to place inside the top 10, claiming seventh spot with 2251 sales behind the HiLux and third-placed Corolla.

Mazda (10,328 units) and Hyundai (8130) were unable to replicate their massive tallies from September last year, down by 14.0 per cent and 12.8 per cent respectively.

Meanwhile, Mitsubishi nabbed fourth place with sales rising by 5.4 per cent, to 7065 units, thanks to the success of its Outlander and ASX SUVs.

Fifth-placed Holden's sales dived by 19.6 per cent to 6882 units, with key models like the Colorado struggling to keep pace.

The home-grown Commodore sedan and ute accounted for 43 per cent of the Red Lion's total sales in September, a concerning statistic given the model ceases production later this month.

Irrespective of the Ranger's strong monthly result, overall Ford sales (6845) decreased by 6.0 per cent, owing to dwindling supplies of the defunct Falcon and Territory.

Year to date, Ranger 4x4 variants are ahead of their HiLux counterparts, 28,026 to 26,039, but the Toyota's lead in workhorse 4x2 sales gives the ute overall bragging rights, 35,229 to 32,620.

Drive-away deals and a limited-edition FX4 variant propelled buyers into Ford showrooms where the Ranger is responsible for 63 per cent of all sales for the sixth-placed Blue Oval.

Among the top-10 brands, eighth-placed Kia gained the most with sales up 26.4 per cent to 4662 units, achieving its greatest September result yet.

Volkswagen (4901), Subaru (4641) and Honda (4393) also improved over their 2016 results.

Mercedes-Benz kept surging ahead of its luxury-car rivals, with sales leaping by 24.2 per cent to 3922 sales.

Comparatively, BMW (-21.3 per cent), Audi (-13.7 per cent ), Jaguar (-48.3 per cent), Lexus (-9.0 per cent) and Volvo (-35.2 per cent) all continued their downwards trajectory in 2017.

Are one-tonne utes, like the Ford Ranger, the ultimate multi-purpose vehicle? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

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