PICK‐UP sales results for 2016 from the SMMT were not available at the time of writing but, according to a reliable industry source, this is how it looks, writes Huw Thomas. Ford Ranger was (UK) No 1 in 2016 having consolidated its early lead last year (up from No 3 in 2015). It now commands almost 28 per cent of the Pick‐up sector. Toyota’s latest HiLux however has yet to have a full year on sale and in April Isuzu will launch a revised D‐Max with a new Diesel engine. Nissan’s impressive Navara (multi‐link back axle/independent suspension) went from No 5 to No 4 (first full year); D‐Max fell from No 4 (2015) to No 5. Mitsubishi’s L200 held on to the No 2 spot last year (but with a market share more than 10 per cent less than the Ranger’s). Volkswagen’s Amarok stays at No 6, but, as we’ve seen, it is Double‐Cab only and, with a new much larger 3.0 V6 TDI engine, seeks to create a distinct “premium” status in the marketplace. FIAT’s Fullback (based on the L200) arrived last year. The end of this year should see the Renault Alaskan and Mercedes X‐Class spinoffs from the Barcelona‐built Navara. The Mercedes variant will no doubt aim to sell as a ‘premium product’.
Whether these merely dilute each manufacturer’s market share (it remains a fairly small segment) or actually increase demand across the board remains to be seen. What seems clear however is that a return to the recent status quo (HiLux No 1; L200 and Navara fighting for 2nd or 3rd place; remainder following) seems over. Toyota will make every effort to regain the top slot but Ford’s lead is impressive, the company’s renowned marketing resources will be committed to consolidating it and HiLux will have a job on its hands to make up lost ground. Of those outside the “magic circle”, SsangYong’s Musso (nee Korando Sports) was thoroughly re‐worked last year (new engine, gearbox, etc) to go with the re‐naming. It deserves credit for being first with independent rear suspension but competes very much on price. Some way to go to become truly competitive, the Korean company’s acquisition by India’s Mahindra & Mahindra and subsequent investment is promising. Isuzu D‐Max The “new generation” D‐Max will arrive here April/May this year. The new 1.9 litre turbo diesel engine produces 164ps (up 1ps on its 2.5 predecessor) and 360Nm of torque. It retains a 3.5 tonne towing capacity and 1 tonne payload however. Quieter, more refined and economical the company says, it is also Euro 6 compliant without the need for AdBlue. As previously, rotary dial selection of 4×4 (High & Low Ratio) is possible on the move. Isuzu UK’s five‐year/125,000‐mile warranty also continues.