THE blossoming dual-cab 4x4 Australian market is set to land a big American fish later this month, with the RAM 1500 marching out of showrooms this July in right-hand drive.
The Hemi V8-powered 1500 will butt heads with Ford’s Ranger Raptor in an ever-expanding premium ute segment, and it’s expected to be popular with enthusiasts who want/need V8 grunt without turning to the aftermarket industry.
RAM Australia expects to sell 4500 units by 2020, which will give it a 10 per cent share of the $57,000+ ute segment.
There’s clearly a market for the American “pick-up”, too, with a growing bigger-is-better attitude from local punters.
You just have to look at the VFACTS report every month to notice popularity of the dual-cab is booming, while passenger-car interest slides in comparison.
In 2018 to date, the Light Commercial Vehicle (LCV) segment holds a 19.9 per cent share of the overall new-car sales market – a small increase of 0.4 per cent YTD, but a hike nonetheless. The passenger car, on the other hand, holds 34.3 per cent of the market YTD, but it’s down 4.3 per cent compared to 2017.
It’s the pick-up/cab-chassis 4x4 segment that holds the lion’s share of LCV sales – 67,960 YTD, compared to 62,964 in 2017.
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Notwithstanding the fact that car parks and local roads aren’t ready to cope with bigger Yank tanks – think 2500/3500 and Silverado – it might be time to start preparing for an increasing number of burly utes.
The Laramie 2500 and 3500 – and the looming 1500 – are converted from LHD to RHD by American Vehicle Sales, the official Aussie importer of RAMs. It’s important to note that the US-built 1500 will officially leave the showroom floor classed as a remanufactured vehicle, not a conversion.
The 2500 and 3500 launched here in 2015 and both have enjoyed sales growth since – in fact, sales increased by 36 per cent in 2017 compared to 2016, according to VFACTS.
There’s also the aftermarket industry, with companies like American Vehicle Sales who convert and sell a range of ‘big’ pick-ups for the Aussie market.
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AVS’s model line-up consists of: Chevrolet Silverado HD, Dodge RAM, GMC Sierra, Ford Raptor, Toyota Tundra and Nissan Titan.
With the blossoming LCV market and ‘bigger is better’ attitude, it’s likely we’ll see more American pick-ups on local roads… perhaps carparks and roads need to start getting bigger, too.