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HiLux heading into monster truck battle with Ranger

Is Australia’s favourite workhorse, the Toyota HiLux, about to be overtaken?

The Toyota HiLux accounted for more than one-in-four ute sales at its peak. But that dominance is fading under the pressure of new rivals.

Australia's favourite workhorse 4WD ute for more than three decades -- the Toyota HiLux -- is under threat.

The HiLux might have an unbreakable record but according to official sales figures it has been beaten for the second month in a row by the Ford Ranger pick-up, and is feeling the weight of a raft of new rivals.

Related: Joshua Dowling's comparison review between the new Ford Ranger, Toyota HiLux and Mazda BT-50

Although the HiLux still leads the year-to-date ute sales race, the result is the first time in more than a decade a Ford has outsold any direct rival (the last time the Ford Falcon outsold the Holden Commodore was in 2003).

The HiLux was also overtaken in the ute sales race last December by the Mitsubishi Triton, as four-door ute sales hit record highs and are increasingly being adopted as family cars.

The latest heavy duty utes have more mod-cons, including at least six airbags and a five-star safety rating.

Toyota says HiLux sales will bounce back with this month's arrival of the first all-new model in 10 years.

But an investigation by News Corp Australia has found Toyota dealers are already discounting the new HiLux barely one week after it went on sale.

The Toyota HiLux has been the top-selling vehicle outright for the past seven years in a row in Queensland and West Australia and 14 years in a row in the Northern Territory.

The Toyota HiLux has been a Top Three seller nationally among all passenger cars for the seven of the past 10 years, and Number One outright in 14 individual months since 2008.