The car Queenslanders are going mad for
QUEENSLANDERS have gone mad for utes, new sales figures show.
Four of the top ten selling vehicles in Queensland this year are one-tonners and the Toyota HiLux, the state's best-selling vehicle for the past 11 years, is leading the charge.
August sales figures show that the HiLux remains in front by a country mile, but the Ford Ranger, Mitsubishi Triton and Isuzu D-Max all make up the top ten. Nissan's Navara narrowly misses out.
While some of the popularity can be traced to the state's large mining and farming industries, there is also growing evidence that more people are buying utes for lifestyle reasons. Many are using their utes as workhorses during the week and playthings on weekends.
Makers have responded by throwing more family-friendly features at their trucks, adding leather seats, better stereos and technology such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
They are no longer bare bones workhorses, with hose-out vinyl floors.
Safety has also been upgraded to take into account their new role as family vehicles. Some utes can now slam on the brakes if they sense an impending accident, while all have the full complement of airbags and driver safety aids such as stability control.
The sales figures also show that Queenslanders have taken Toyota to their hearts. More than one in five new-car buyers in the state opt for a Toyota. The Corolla hatchback is number two on the sales charts, while the Prado offroader also makes the top ten. Queenslanders by more Toyotas per head than other states.
Today's carpark is a far cry from a decade ago, when the locally built Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon ruled the roost.
The traditional sedan, for decades the default choice for Queensland families, has been all but forgotten as buyers flock to utes and SUVs.
This year, we've bought more sports cars than large sedans and last month the Ford Mustang outsold the Commodore by almost two to one.
While the rest of Australia is flocking to city-based softroaders, the craze has been slower to catch on in Queensland, where hatchbacks still rule the roost for city buyers. Australia-wide SUVs make up four of the top ten selling vehicles, while in Queensland only two make the top ten.
SUVs, however, are now the dominant force on our roads. In 2008, they made up just one in five sales. Now it's two out of five. Cars used to account for more than half the new-car sales in Queensland, but that's dropped to less than a third.
The demise of the Commodore has seen Holden slide down the sales charts. The Red Lion was number two choice for new car buyers a decade ago. It's now seventh, overtaken by Mazda, Hyundai, Mitsubishi, Ford and Nissan.
SALES: THEN AND NOW
TOP TEN CARS YTD 2018
1 Toyota HiLux
2 Toyota Corolla
3 Ford Ranger
4 Mitsubishi Triton
5 Hyundai i30
7 Mazda CX-5
8 Isuzu D-Max
9 Toyota Prado
10 Mitsubishi ASX
TOP TEN YTD 2008
5 Nissan Navara
6 Ford Falcon
7 Mitsubishi Triton
8 Toyota Yaris
9 Toyota Camry
10 Suzuki Swift
TOP TEN AUSTRALIA YTD 2018
5. Hyundai i30
6. Mazda CX-5
7. Mitsubishi Triton
8. Toyota RAV4
9. Nissan X-Trail
10. Hyundai Tucson