Top 5 Trade Utes: September 2016 car sales

Light-commercial vehicles are building up towards another record year, as the segment dominated by utes continues to establish itself as the new-car market’s biggest-growing segment.

Toyota HiLux

Industry sales for September 2016 reveal the segment expanded by 18 percent compared with the same month last year. In the same year-on-year analysis, passenger cars fell nine percent, SUVs grew by seven percent, and heavy-commercial vehicles barely moved (up less than one percent).

September reflects a year-to-date trend where light-commercials are out-pacing even SUVs, albeit by just a single percent: 11 percent versus 10 percent.

Here, WhichCar focuses on the top 5 best-selling utes in each of the 4x2 and 4x4 segments, as well as the overall battle.

Holden Colorado


If the Ford Ranger could replicate its 4x4 form in the 4x2 market, the Toyota HiLux’s decades-long reign as Australia’s most popular workhorse ute would be under genuine threat.

The locally developed Ranger took September honours in the four-wheel-drive ute class though had only about half its rival’s sales in the rear-drive class. The HiLux’s combined total of 3209 units last month pushed it past 30,000 sales for 2016, with the Ranger a clear second for both September (2903) and year to date (26,940).

The Mitsubishi Triton totalled 2246 for third, despite a relatively disappointing 4x2 result. In fourth was the Holden Colorado with 1732, and the Isuzu D-Max registered 1400 units to slot into fifth – just ahead of the Mazda BT-50 (1361). The September placements matched overall positions exactly.

Ford Ranger XL

Top 5 September

Rank Brand Sales
1. Toyota HiLux 3209
2. Ford Ranger 2903
3. Mitsubishi Triton 2246
4. Holden Colorado 1732
5. Isuzu D-Max 1400

Top 5 2016 (to September)

Rank Brand Sales
1. Toyota HiLux 30,827
2. Ford Ranger 26,940
3. Mitsubishi Triton 17,338
4. Holden Colorado 14,407
5. Isuzu D-Max 11,806


The HiLux clearly didn’t have one of its better months in September 2015 as last month’s 898 units marked a quadrupling of sales year-on-year. Neither the Mazda BT-50 nor Isuzu D-Max feature in the 4x4 top 5 but they’re consistently strong performers in the rear-wheel-drive segment. 

The Mazda took second, one place higher than where it sits in the overall 2016 race; there was a similar result for the Isuzu, albeit one place further down the table. The Ford Ranger was only four units behind and remains a solid runner-up so far overall. 

Holden’s Commodore Ute isn’t a ‘one-tonner’ commercial vehicle, though the car-based utility is still popular with tradies and it again outsold its Colorado stablemate (356 v 204).

Holden Ute

Top 5 4x2 September

Rank Brand Sales
1. Toyota HiLux 898
2. Mazda BT-50 549
3. Isuzu D-Max 456
4. Ford Ranger 452
5. Holden Commodore Ute 356

Top 5 4x2 2016 (to September)


Rank Brand Sales
1. Toyota HiLux 8303
2. Ford Ranger 4502
3. Mazda BT-50 3935
4. Isuzu D-Max 3742
5. Holden Commodore Ute 3719


The four-wheel-drive utility segment is providing a fascinating battle between the HiLux and Ranger. The Ford triumphed in September with 2451 sales to close the year-to-date gap to the Toyota – now just a paltry 86 units.

Even if the HiLux looks unbeatable in the overall race (see above), victory in the 4x4 race would still be a stunning result for the older ute – and particularly important considering 4x4s outsell their 4x2 counterparts by a considerable margin.

While the Triton struggled last month in 4x2s, the 4x4 version jumped 23 percent to break the 2000-unit barrier and take the final place on the podium. Holden’s recently updated Colorado was fourth, rising 15 percent, with the Nissan Navara just edging out the Isuzu D-Max (969 v 944) for fifth.

Mitsubishi Triton

Top 5 4x4 September

Rank Brand Sales
1. Ford Ranger 2451
2. Toyota HiLux 2311
3. Mitsubishi Triton 2012
4. Holden Colorado 1528
5. Nissan Navara 969

Top 5 4x4 2016 (to September)


Rank Brand Sales
1. Toyota HiLux 22,524
2. Ford Ranger 22,438
3. Mitsubishi Triton 14,066
4. Holden Colorado 12,885
5. Nissan Navara 10,673


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