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Is Australia the biggest market for Ford Ranger, Toyota HiLux, Isuzu D-Max, Mitsubishi Triton and more? We reveal where we rank for global ute sales

The HiLux is Australia’s top-selling model, but is it more popular in other countries?

Australians are buying more utes than ever before. In fact, a tick under 190,000 4x4 pick-ups were sold last year, making it the biggest single market segment by volume in 2021, beating medium SUVs by close to 10,000 sales.

It’s also a very profitable segment for manufacturers. The vast majority of the top-selling utes in Australia are sourced from Thailand or China, where they are much cheaper to build and export from than Japan or the US.

But just how big is the ute segment in Australia compared with other countries?

CarsGuide has obtained data from all of the major players in the ute segment that reveals where the Australian market sits globally, by sales volume of each model.

As it turns out, Australian might well be one of the biggest ute markets in the world.

Let’s look at the big guns first.

In Australia, the Toyota HiLux has been the country’s top-selling ute and overall top-selling model for the past six years. But does that mean Australia is the number one market globally for HiLux sales? Not quite.

The Ford Ranger was designed and engineered in Australia. The Ford Ranger was designed and engineered in Australia.

We are number two behind the dominant ute market in the world – Thailand. This is hardly surprising given the enormous domestic ute market in the South-East Asian country.

Last year just over 128,000 examples of the HiLux were sold in Thailand where it is sourced, compared with 52,800 in Australia. South Africa (36,000) and Argentina (24,700) are also significant markets for HiLux, which makes sense given the ute is produced in both countries.

The biggest market for Toyota’s other ute, the LandCruiser 70 Series, is the African region, followed by Australia.

Given the Ford Ranger was designed and engineered in Australia, it’s the most ‘Australian’ ute left on sale here since the end of mass vehicle manufacturing a few years back.

The Triton is the third best-selling ute in Australia so far this year. The Triton is the third best-selling ute in Australia so far this year.

But despite the fact that it is the second best-selling ute and model overall here, Australia is only the number two market for Ranger sales.

It might be built in Thailand for Australia and many other markets, but the top market for Ranger globally is the United States. The current Ranger went on sale in the US in 2019, about eight years after its introduction here. But, it is also built at Ford’s Wayne, Michigan plant.

Ranger wasn’t even the best-selling mid size ute in America last year. That title belonged to the Toyota Tacoma with more than 220,000 units. The Ranger managed 95,000 – about 45,000 more than Australia. Thailand and South Africa trail Australia for Ranger sales.

The Mitsubishi Triton is experiencing a sales spike in Australia this year and it is running third overall for ute sales behind the HiLux and Ranger.

Australia is a key market for Isuzu. Australia is a key market for Isuzu.

While it’s been a favourite of Aussie buyers for years, Australia is the second highest volume market behind its manufacturing base of Thailand. It is also built in Brazil which is the Triton’s third biggest market.

The Isuzu D-Max is hugely popular in Australia and sales have grown with the still fresh third-generation model.

As with the Triton, it sells more models in Thailand where it’s built, but Australia is second for sales. In fact, 30 per cent of all D-Max and MU-X exports from Thailand go to Australia. So, we remain a key market for the Japanese brand.

The Mazda BT-50 might be a twin of the D-Max, but their market presence differs greatly.

The Navara is more popular in Mexico than Australia. The Navara is more popular in Mexico than Australia.

Despite being built alongside the D-Max in Thailand, Australia is the number one market for BT-50 globally, by a decent margin.

The BT-50 is not sold in as many markets as the other utes, but Australia takes 53 per cent of all BT-50 volume. Last year Mazda sold 15,662 in Australia, which was well ahead of the next market on the list, Chile (3399) and New Zealand (2040).

Australia ranks lower when it comes to the Nissan Navara. In fact, we are fourth for volume globally behind Mexico, Thailand and China. But on a per capita basis, Australia is the top market for Navara.

Australian Navara sales were 15,113 last year, enough for 13th place overall.

Finally, we come to the Volkswagen Amarok. The top market for the soon-to-be-replaced workhorse is actually Argentina, where it is built. So no big surprise there. But, Australia is the second biggest market for the VW.