Ford Ranger sales race against Toyota HiLux down to the wire

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The Ford Ranger is fewer than 400 vehicles away from ending the Toyota HiLux’s seven-year run at the top of the Australian new motor vehicle sales charts after breaking its sales record for the second month in a row.

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The race to become Australia’s best-selling motor vehicle of 2023 has come down to less than 400 utes as Ford draws closer to topping the sales charts for the first time in nearly 30 years.

With one month to go the Ford Ranger has halved the gap to the Toyota HiLux – the top seller for the past seven years in a row – to 379 vehicles after breaking its sales record for the second month in a row in November 2023.

The Ford Ranger has finished second to the Toyota HiLux for the past six years in a row – and the utes have held the monthly sales lead six and five times respectively so far this year.

If Ford delivers at least 380 more Rangers in December 2023 than Toyota HiLux utes, it will clinch the top step of the podium for the Blue Oval brand for the first time since the Ford Falcon defeated the Holden Commodore in 1995.

Ford Ranger deliveries in November 2023 outnumbered those of the Toyota HiLux by 400 vehicles – while in October 2023 it did the same by 449 examples.

If the November 2023 result is repeated in December 2023, Ford will take the top spot by just 21 vehicles – one of the closest margins in recent memory.

Both companies are racing to deliver vehicles as quickly as possible – and fulfill backlogs of customer orders – as the monthly sales results are a reflection of the number of vehicles car companies can deliver, rather than the number of new orders taken in a given month.

Ford has rented a ship to freight Ranger utes – and Everest four-wheel-drives – to Australia from the factory in Thailand, as it continues to grapple with year-long wait times on top-selling diesel models, and even longer waits on the Raptor V6 performance model.

Meanwhile wait times are shorter for the Toyota HiLux – closer to six months than one year on high-grade models – but earlier in the year the Japanese car giant grappled with production bottlenecks from its ute factory in Thailand, as well as others in Japan which supply Australia.

The November 2023 result of 6301 Ford Ranger sales is a record for the ute – eclipsing its previous best of 6215, set the prior month – for 55,589 year-to-date.

Deliveries of Ford Ranger 4×4 utes were also at their all-time highest – a neat 6000 for the month – compared to 4843 HiLux 4x4s.

The Ford Ranger has beat its previous annual sales record of 50,270 set in 2021 – with a month left to go – while the tally of 55,968 Toyota HiLux utes reported as sold is on track to fall short of its annual record set last year, when 64,391 deliveries were reported.

“It’s very competitive. It’s a super competitive segment, nothing’s changed. It’ll be a very close – a tight race,” Toyota Australia sales and marketing boss Sean Hanley told Drive today.

“But we remain confident in the HiLux brand and in the end, we always say number one is not a right, it’s an outcome … In the end, customers will decide that outcome.”

He said: “It’ll be what it’ll be. But again I think we’ve all got to rationalize VFACTS in a way that suggests that what you’re seeing is capability to deliver, rather than necessarily reflecting the natural demand of that particular month.”

Alex Misoyannis has been writing about cars since 2017, when he started his own website, Redline. He contributed for Drive in 2018, before joining CarAdvice in 2019, becoming a regular contributing journalist within the news team in 2020.

Cars have played a central role throughout Alex’s life, from flicking through car magazines at a young age, to growing up around performance vehicles in a car-loving family.

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