Ute discount war toyota hilux prices slashed to fend off ford ranger in 2016 sales race

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TRADIES will be spoiled for choice if they’re in the market for a new ute in the lead up to the end of the year.

After two utes topped the market in October for the first time ever, the battle for bragging rights to become Australias top-selling workhorse has sparked unprecedented discounting.

The Toyota HiLux has dropped to a new low just 12 months after the latest model went on sale slashing $6500 off the full retail price of its flagship model, to $52,990 drive-away.

Customarily such discounts appear as a vehicle gets much older.

Toyota has been forced to sharpen its prices because the Ford Ranger four-door 4WD has beaten the equivalent Toyota HiLux model six times in the past 10 months.

Adding to the pressure, Ford has released a discounted $49,990 drive-away version of the Ranger ute which normally does not attract such savings in an attempt to undercut the Toyota HiLux, Australias favourite workhorse for the past 30 years.

At the bargain end of the market, the Mitsubishi Triton is making life difficult for the mainstream brands with a red hot deal thats at least $10,000 less than most rivals, at $35,990 drive-away.

The competition is so tough that Holden launched its updated Colorado ute two months ago with drive-away pricing across the range.

But despite the massive upgrades and the sharper pricing, the new Holden Colorado isnt selling as well as expected, so more discounts are likely around the corner.

The ute market has never been this competitive, said the executive director of sales and marketing at Toyota Australia, Tony Cramb.

Pick-ups these days are like family SUVs with a tray on the back. The nature of the product is changing.

Todays utes have most mod-cons, five-star safety and are more car-like to drive.

Pick-ups have been the top sellers in the US for some time, now that Australia is a more open market, things like this will happen, said Mr Cramb.

When asked if Toyotas discounts were a desperate move to try to win the new-car sales race in 2016 the first time a ute would take line honours Mr Cramb said: Were responding to the market. Itd be nice (if the HiLux becomes number one) because it means more Australians chose that vehicle more than any other. But number one is not a target. Its up to customers to decide.

When asked if Toyota was concerned about Ford closing the gap to HiLux sales, Mr Cramb said: We have respect for all our competition.

Last month, utes filled the top two spots in the sales race for the first time ever. The HiLux has led the new car market several times on individual months, but never before have two utes outsold the rest of the market.

Hot tickets:

Toyota HiLux SR5

Price: From $52,990 drive-away

Save: About $6500 off the full RRP

Ford Ranger XLS Special Edition

Price: From $49,990 drive-away

Saving: About $5000 off the full RRP

Holden Colorado LTZ

Price: From $51,315

Saving: About $5000 off the full RRP

Mitsubishi Triton GLX

Price: From $33,490 drive-away (when $2000 cash back is taken into account)

Saving: About $10,000 off the full RRP

This reporter is on Twitter: @JoshuaDowling