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Automotive market research: Toyota and Ford Lead the Way in Commercial Ute Market

A total of 182,915 new utes were sold in 2013, with the 4x4 segment experiencing a year on year growth rate of 10.9%. More than a half of these yearly sales were to businesses and used primarily for commercial purposes.

This is an important segment of the automotive market, but also one where there has been a lack of hard evidence about the motivations and preferences of commercial ute purchasers. To address this gap, ACA Research recently conducted an in-depth analysis of the behaviour, attitudes and perceptions of decision makers that purchase commercial utes in Australia. 257 organisations operating at least 1 ute were interviewed as part of this study.

A wide range of marques are owned by these organisations, with Toyota and Ford having the highest levels of brand awareness and brand ownership. The Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger were the most commonly owned models, followed by the Holden Colorado, Mitsubishi Triton and Nissan Navara. Toyota and Ford have a combined 56% of most recent ute purchases.

Ute Brand Awareness

There are five hygiene factors that fleet buyers take into account when buying a ute:

  • Saftey Features & Credentials
  • On Road Performance
  • Purchase Price
  • Reliability
  • Suitablity (fit for purpose)

Other criteria that are seen as important to most are:

  • Fuel economy
  • Tray/Tub capacity
  • Warranty period
  • Towing capacity
  • Driver comfort and OH&S standards
  • Technology features such as Bluetooth and smartphone integration

Outlook for 2014

  • Purchase intentions are positive for 2014, with 54% of respondents in our survey intending to purchase at least one ute.
  • ACA Research estimates approximately 24% of utes will be replaced in 2014.
  • The majority of these Utes will be purchased new, replacing vehicles that are 3-4 years old with 120,000kms - 150,000kms on the odometer
  • In larger fleets and in the Governent, Education and Health sector the replacement cycle is shorter, whereas in Agriculture and Distribution the number of kilometres travelled per ute is higher.
  • While manual transmissions remain popular in the 4x4 segment, there is likely to be an increased demand for automatic transmissions in the 4x2 segment. There appears to be equal demand for both single and dual cab utes in 2014 with the extra cab demand remaining below 10%.
  • 84% of the market is likely to choose diesel engines.
  • The majority of utes are being used off-road, many are driving on reasonably rough or very rough roads and hence proof of performance is important in the decision making process.
  • The majority of utes are used to tow a minimum of 750kg. Accordingly, any competitive strength related to towing capacity should be emphasised.

The full report, Commercial Ute Insight 2014, is available to purchase from ACA Research. This complements our regular series of reports about the commercial vans market. 

Purchase the Commercial Utes Insight Report

Topics: Market Research Automotive Research