However, there is a third player in the Australian market that has gone largely unnoticed, despite being one of the most popular cars in the world.
We are of course talking about the Ford F-150, which dominates the North American market and has just entered its 14th generation.
So, if you want possibly the most iconic American pick-up of them all, the Ford F-150, and you live in Australia, what are your options?
As much as we may want Ford to sell the F-150 in right-hand drive from the factory, it just isn’t going to happen in the foreseeable future.
Ford Australia similarly doesn’t look set to organise a local re-engineering process by a third party, like that completed by Walkinshaw for GM and Ram, any time soon.
There are, however, several converters outside of Ford that will important and sell F-150 variants in Australia.
While the new 2021 Ford F-150 is about to go on sale in the US, it is the outgoing 13th generation model offered in Australia for now.
One of the most respected is Performax International, which has a long history in re-engineering American cars and trucks to meet local ADR standards.
Kevin Thoroughgood is a dealer principal for Performax, and he says that the process of buying an F-150 is much like any other car in Australia.
“It’s pretty simple really; you just go to the dealership and buy it,” he tells WhichCar.
However, it’s not quite that simple at the moment.
The combination of booming demand for American pick-ups, and a strained global supply chain, means buyers wanting an F-150 in their driveway may have to wait for quite a while.
“COVID has changed everything this year, so there is a bit more to it currently,” Thoroughgood adds
“But normally I would have vehicles sitting here, or all our dealers would have vehicles, and you can just go to them or ring up and buy one off the showroom floor.
“This year, due to demand absolutely smashing supply, you could be waiting up to a year.
“We had a lot of stock early in the year, and by mid-year, we were sold out.
“We’ve got stuff coming all the time, our factory is busy, and our dealer has got orders, but everything is sold. All seven of our dealers have already sold out everything that we have coming to Australia.
“We are running at full production as well, we can’t produce any more.”
If you have your heart set on buying an American icon, Performax offers multiple ways to put a brand-new F-Truck in your garage.
“There are three ways to buy,” Thoroughgood explains. “You can get one off the showroom floor if we have something in stock - which in a normal world we would have, this year is an exception.
“The second way is you can buy out of inbound stock that we have already got coming that suits.
“The third way is to do a factory order, which means we order exactly what you want from the Ford factory through a dealer in Canada and wait until it gets built.”
A combination of high demand and manufacturing delays means it the third option can result in a lengthy wait.
“A factory order in the current climate is taking nine to 12 months,” Thoroughgood adds.
“Normally we could do a factory order in less than six months, but now with manufacturing delays in the US it is an easy nine to 12 months wait to get something specific.”
According to Thoroughgood, getting the car prepped to meet Australian standards is one of the quickest parts of the buying process.
“The conversion only takes one to two weeks,” he added.
When it comes to pricing, Performax offers a range of different models to suit a wide variety of budgets – not just the desert smashing Raptor.
“An F-150 can range from $99,000 to $250,000 depending on what the customer wants,” Thoroughgood continues.
“It is like going and buying a BMW. You can start off with the basic 3 Series, or go right through to the M Series with everything on it and there is over a $100,000 difference between the top and the bottom.
“XLTs are usually around the $120,000 mark, which is a fairly high-spec cloth-trim model. They are not basic, but very well optioned with two power seats and a sunroof etcetera.
“A Lariat, with a lot of gear in it which is what most people would buy, is between $135,000 and $145,000 usually. That’s depending on what options they want to choose and which packs they add.
“Raptors run into the $190,000 bracket if you go fully optioned. A Raptor buyer doesn’t buy a cloth-trim model, they buy the top of the range. And a Raptor isn’t the highest we go either, we can bring in Shelby Trucks and Black Ops by Tuscany – we’ve got a licence to do all those as well.”
Features that most Australians would expect to come as standard locally are optional extras in North America, which is something to be factored into budget considerations.
“An F-150 Lariat, you could probably get it for not much more than something like a Toyota LandCruiser Sahara, but there will be $20,000 of possible options, so that truck can all of a sudden get up to around $150,000.”
Interestingly, while it is the hero model in the F-Truck range, Thoroughgood says that most of the people that enquire about buying the flagship F-150 Raptor actually end up purchasing a different variant.
“When Raptors were really hot, we had a bunch of them and a heap in stock,” he explains. “But now they are a dream car for people that don’t really know how to drive them or what they are used for. Once we qualify them, we find out they are not really Raptor buyers.
“Anyone that calls up for Raptor, for 95 percent it isn’t the right car for them. They actually normally end up going for Lariats or XLTs.
“A lot of people don’t understand what a Raptor is. It is a Baja pre-runner, used for the Baja races as a car to go out and test the tracks, and that is what they were built for.
“They are not built to carry anything, they can’t carry a payload, and can’t tow much. Raptors are Ferraris for off-road. Not practical, but a lot of fun.”
Despite F-150s being intrinsically linked with the good ol’ United States of America, Perfomax imports the majority of its models from Canada.
This is in part due to a more reasonable currency exchange rate. The F-150s are still built in their US factories
All F-150s are built in Ford’s Dearborn plant in Michigan. The Ontario Truck plant in Oakville once built F-Trucks in Canada, but that facility was closed in 2004.
“The US exchange rate is not very favourable, and if we were buying from the US the prices would be exorbitant,” Thoroughgood adds. “It would be too much.
“Prices are already at a level that we don’t really like them at, but you can’t help it. No one in Australia would pay the price for a US-sourced car.”
All F-150s sold by Performax are re-engineered to right-hand-drive in Australia, and are offered with a five-year warranty.
The local converter also stocks all the spare parts necessary for servicing and upkeep of the vehicles it sells locally.
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