The new Ford Ranger is off to a flying start in the sales race – beaten by the aging Toyota HiLux – as China’s Great Wall Motors Ute and LDV T60 outsell both the Mazda BT-50 and Nissan Navara for the first time.
The Chinese for the first time in the monthly race of new car sales surpassed the sales of both Mazda BT-50 and Nissan Navara.
The Great Wall Motors Ute and LDV T60 have outsold the Nissan Navara for the past three consecutive months, but September 2022 marks the first time both Chinese companies have outsold the Nissan Navara and Mazda BT-50 in the same month.
The shock result is not only a sign of shortages, but industry watchers say it is a sign of changing consumer tastes in the meat market.
“Japanese brand cars are starting to price themselves out of reach, and the Chinese are moving into that $35,000 to $45,000 price range,” said one multi-franchise dealer representing Chinese and Japanese new car brands, speaking to drive on the condition of anonymity.
“Customers come in, they see the value of the Chinese rocks, all the features you get for the money, and the Chinese have stock or very short wait times. For many customers, it just doesn’t make sense.”
The dealer agreed that Chinese utes may not be as powerful or well-built as Japanese utes – and reliability is still largely unproven for new Chinese brands – but recent sales figures show more customers are ready to make the leap.
“There are some people who are not ready to participate in a relatively unknown Chinese ute, but many customers look at the price, look at the features and look at the warranty, and then sign up.”
Although the Great Wall Motors Ute and LDV T60 outsold the Nissan Navara and Mazda BT-50 in September 2022, they ended up trailing the familiar names on a year-to-date basis (see table below).
Meanwhile, the Toyota HiLux is on course for a seventh straight annual win in Australia’s new car sales race – and to post back-to-back records – despite showing its age against newer rivals.
The current generation Toyota HiLux was introduced in 2015 and is at least half a decade older than key rivals such as the new Ford Ranger, Isuzu D-Max and Mazda BT-50.
Although the Toyota HiLux has a valid five-star safety rating, it lacks many of the technology features of its newer competitors.
Toyota reported sales of 49,796 HiLux vehicles this year, equaling its third-highest annual result, three months into the year not yet counted.
A record 52,801 HiLux were sold in Australia last year. If sales continue at the current pace, the Toyota HiLux will break its annual record by the end of October.
Ford dealers say deliveries of the new Ranger are still growing; the new shipment should be delivered within a few days.
However, thanks to the phasing out of the old model and the gradual introduction of the new model, the Toyota HiLux has established a significant lead over the Ford Ranger (49,796 vs. 32,115 YTD).
Here’s a quick summary of the ute class in numbers.
Year-to-date Ute sales (to the end of September 2022):
- Toyota HiLux 49,796, up 22 percent
- Ford Ranger 32,115, down 14.5 percent
- Mitsubishi Triton 23,205, up 43.7 percent
- Isuzu D-Max 19,234, down 3.9 percent
- Mazda BT-50 10,004, down 19 percent
- Nissan Navara 8,825, down 15.1 percent
- Great Wall Motors Ute 5600 rose 4.5 percent
- LDV T60 3,695, down 28.8 percent
Ute sales in September 2022:
- Toyota HiLux 5170 increased by 42.2 percent
- Ford Ranger 4,890, down 16.7 percent
- Mitsubishi Triton 2319, increased in price by 310 percent
- Isuzu D-Max 1924, increased in price by 5 percent
- Great Wall Motors Ute 946, up 57 percent
- LDV T60,962, up 65.9 percent
- Mazda BT-50, 538, down 62.7 percent
- Nissan Navara 819, down 23.8 percent
Source: Federal Chamber of Automotive Industry.