The Australian utility boom has officially gone into overdrive.
For the first time ever, two hay-haulers posted a one-two monthly sales result last month as buyers lapped up the rugged but versatile machines.
The Toyota HiLux was the nation’s most popular vehicle, with 3352 sales in October, followed closely by Ford’s popular Ranger (3217 sales), which has helped transform the fortunes of the Blue Oval amid its manufacturing shutdown.
The demand for utes is so strong that the HiLux is now in line to take an unprecedented outright annual sales victory, with the October result narrowly edging it ahead of its Corolla small-car sibling.
Market on track for record haul
Toyota has managed to shift a considerable 34,179 pick-ups so far this year, although Ford retains leadership in 4×4 sales with its evergreen Ranger, which has achieved 25,189 4×4 sales alone, or 30,157 altogether.
The HiLux’s performance helped seal a dominant month for Toyota in general. The Corolla (3210) and Camry (2135) passenger cars also featured in the top 10 sellers list to deliver the Japanese brand in excess of 16,000 sales.
Elsewhere, it was a relatively slow month for Japanese counterpart Mazda, which finished narrowly ahead of Holden and Ford in a tight tussle for third.
The market remains on track for an outright sales record. Although October was down by one per cent on the same period last year, year-to-date sales have so far tallied 980,433 – a 2.4 per cent spike on a record 2015.
Passenger car sales fall
Utilities are one of the major battlegrounds. The light segment is up by 10.1 per cent overall – an unprecedented level of growth. Key to the growth is a 25.3 per cent spike in business light commercial sales.
SUVs are also another hot topic among buyers. The segment has grown considerably across all size genres, with a 9.4 per cent spike in year-to-date sales.
Something has to give in all of this, and the standout culprit is passenger cars, which have experienced a six per cent dip in sales.
Holding up much of the market is renewed growth in the business and fleet sectors. Across all segments (passenger, SUV and light commercial), business and fleet sales have grown by 14.3 per cent so far this year, whereas the private market has dropped 5.9 per cent overall.
Top 10 models: October 2016
Toyota HiLux (3352), Ford Ranger (3217), Toyota Corolla (3210), Hyundai i30 (2718), Mazda3 (2191), Toyota Camry (2135), Holden Commodore (2101), Hyundai Accent (2009),Nissan X-Trail (1655), Mitsubishi ASX (1650).
Top 10 makes: October 2016
Toyota (16,348), Hyundai (8704), Mazda (7921), Holden (7521), Ford (6508), Nissan (5543), Mitsubishi (5227), Volkswagen (4869), Subaru (4140), Kia (3543).