Australians' love affair with utility vehicles continues to grow, with a newfound appreciation for the full-size American models.
For a long time, Australians have been captivated by the cultural influences of the United States, including movies, celebrities, music, and fast food. However, when it came to automobiles, their preferences leaned towards Japanese, Korean, and European brands.
Although the Ford F-150 has been the best-selling vehicle in the United States for over 40 years, full-size pickups have not been popular in Australia, where smaller utes like the Toyota HiLux dominate the market.
In recent times, there has been a shift in this trend, resulting in a surprising surge in the remanufacturing and reengineering of these robust US-made models to cater to the Australian market's right-hand drive requirements.
Beloved Utes of the Past: Which Models Have Australians Embraced?
The Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger dual cab 4x4 utes remain a mainstay of the Australian new vehicle market. Their popularity in Australia can be attributed to a few key factors.
Firstly, these utes are known for their durability, reliability, and ruggedness, making them well-suited for Australia's tough terrain and challenging conditions. They are built to handle the harsh Australian climate, with powerful engines, heavy-duty suspension systems, and robust construction that can withstand rough terrain and heavy loads.
Secondly, the HiLux and Ranger offer versatility and practicality, with spacious cabins and large cargo areas that make them ideal for both work and play. They are popular choices for tradespeople, farmers, and outdoor enthusiasts who need a vehicle that can handle heavy loads and rough terrain, while also providing comfortable and convenient transportation.
Another reason for their popularity is the extensive range of options and accessories available, allowing buyers to customize their utes to suit their specific needs and preferences. From different engine and transmission options to a variety of accessories such as bull bars, tow bars, and roof racks, buyers can tailor their vehicles to meet their unique requirements.
Finally, the HiLux and Ranger have strong brand recognition and a loyal following, with both brands having a long-standing reputation for producing high-quality, dependable vehicles. This brand loyalty, combined with the vehicles' reputation for toughness and versatility, has made them enduringly popular choices in the Australian market.
Shifting Preferences: Why More Australians are Turning to US-Built Full-Size Pickups Over Traditional Utes
While dual-cab 4x4 utes like the HiLux and Ranger have traditionally been the mainstay of the Australian market, there is now a growing number of buyers who are turning to larger full-size pickups from the United States. These vehicles offer even greater performance, payload, and towing capacity than their smaller counterparts, as well as a certain level of style and panache that is difficult to match.
For many buyers, these American pickups represent the ultimate in power and capability, with massive V8 engines, heavy-duty suspension systems, and advanced towing and hauling technologies that make them well-suited for heavy-duty work and recreational activities like towing boats and trailers. They also offer spacious cabins with high levels of comfort and luxury, making them ideal for long-distance travel.
Despite their size and power, these vehicles are still able to meet the demands of Australian buyers, thanks to companies offering right-hand drive conversions and other modifications to make them suitable for local roads and conditions. As a result, more and more Australian buyers are discovering the appeal of these full-size pickups and are embracing them as a viable alternative to the traditional dual-cab Ute.
Driving Change: The Key Players Behind the Growth of the US-Built Vehicle Market in Australia
The automotive landscape in Australia is undergoing a significant shift, with more and more drivers turning to US-built vehicles as their preferred choice. While this trend has been building for some time, it has recently reached a tipping point, with a growing number of Australians opting for full-size pickups from the US over traditional utes.
One of the most significant contributors to the growth of the US-built vehicle market in Australia has been the Walkinshaw Group. This Australian automotive engineering and manufacturing company has been a major player in the automotive industry for many years, and it was the architect of the successful Holden Special Vehicles brand. When Holden announced that it would be ending local manufacturing by 2017, Walkinshaw recognized the need to diversify its offerings and find new opportunities in the market.
To achieve this, Walkinshaw expanded its range of services and offerings, including the development of new products and partnerships. This included the launch of its "Walkinshaw Performance" brand, which offered a range of high-performance vehicles, including American muscle cars and full-size pickups. The company's expertise in vehicle engineering and its reputation for quality and performance helped to establish a new level of credibility for American-made vehicles in the Australian market.
Another important player in the growth of the US-built vehicle market in Australia has been the small businesses and individual importers who have entered the market in recent years. These businesses specialize in the importation, conversion, and sale of US-made vehicles, and they often offer a range of customizations and modifications to make them suitable for local conditions and regulations. Their expertise and dedication to providing high-quality vehicles that meet the needs of Australian drivers have helped to build the reputation of the US-built vehicle market in Australia and have contributed to its growth.
Finally, it is worth noting the role that changing consumer preferences have played in driving the growth of the US-built vehicle market in Australia. As more drivers look for vehicles that offer superior performance, payload, and towing ability, the appeal of full-size pickups has grown. Additionally, the panache and unique styling of these vehicles have also played a role in attracting buyers who are looking for something different from the traditional utes that have dominated the Australian market for many years.Top of Form
What is your preferred pickup?
The remanufacturing of US pickups in the Australian market has become a remarkable success story in recent years, with the total number of these vehicles being mass-produced to potentially reach four in 2023. Your pickup options are:
- Ford F-150
- RAM 1500
- Chevrolet Silverado
- Toyota Tundra
- Ford F-150: The Ford F-150 is a popular full-size pickup truck in the United States, and has started gaining popularity in Australia in recent times. It offers a range of powerful engines, including a 5.0L V8, a 3.5L V6 Eco boost, and a 2.7L V6 Eco boost. The F-150 also boasts impressive towing and payload capacities, making it a top choice for those who need a workhorse vehicle. Ford Australia boss recently stated the remanufacture program is progressing well and on track for mid 2023 arrival in showrooms. ( Drive.com.au/news/ford-f-150-australia-mid-2023-launch/)
- Ram 1500: The Ram 1500 is another full-size pickup truck that has gained a lot of traction in Australia. It offers a comfortable ride and a spacious interior, along with a range of powerful engine options, including a 5.7L V8 Hemi and a 3.0L V6 EcoDiesel. The Ram 1500 also offers impressive towing and payload capacities, making it a versatile option for both work and play.
- Chevrolet Silverado: The Chevrolet Silverado is a highly capable full-size pickup truck that has recently become available in Australia. It offers a range of powerful engine options, including a 6.2L V8 and a 3.0L Duramax diesel, as well as impressive towing and payload capacities. The Silverado also boasts a spacious interior and a range of advanced features, making it a comfortable and practical choice.
- Toyota Tundra: The Toyota Tundra is a full-size pickup truck that has been reported to be coming available in showrooms from late 2023. It offers a range of powerful engine options, including a 5.7L V8, and boasts impressive towing and payload capacities. The Tundra also offers a spacious interior and a range of features, making it a solid option for those who need a reliable workhorse vehicle. (www.drive.com.au/news/2023-toyota-tundra-coming-to-australia/)
Each of these American pickups has its own strengths and unique features, and the choice ultimately comes down to personal preference and specific needs. It's important to consider factors such as engine power, towing and payload capacity, interior space, and features when making a decision.
The American pickups available in the Australian market come with a hefty price tag, which may require car financing to make them more accessible to buyers.