As we near the halfway point of 2023, the new vehicle market has yielded another first: namely, the top three-selling vehicles in Australia at this point in a year are diesel utes. 

While we have become accustomed to the Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger sitting one-two on the charts – having done so since 2017 – the bronze medallist over a full year has never been another load-lugger. 

This holds true across previous years both to the end of May (our latest figures are for May 2023, hence this measure) and across all 12 months. 

The third-placed vehicle in question is, of course, the Isuzu D-Max. The D-Max’s ascension to third spot year-to-date comes despite ongoing supply restrictions leading to delivery delays.

Helping its cause is the fact the outgoing number-three, Toyota’s RAV4, is also being held back by shortages, hence its YTD position of fourth place. 

In another first, the Tesla Model 3 rounds out the top five, something no electric car has done before. 

Zooming out a touch, the overall ute segment has actually lost market share YTD relative to 2022: namely they account for 20.7 per cent of the market (down from 21.3).

Reflecting the success of the current-generation D-Max, its Mazda BT-50 near-identical twin – they share all the same mechanical components and Isuzu builds both vehicles – sits fourth-in-class on 7045 sales, overtaking the ageing Mitsubishi Triton

However, when it comes to the D-Max retaining its top three place to the end of the year, there’s one major potential problem: namely the government’s decision to bring down the threshold for the instant asset write-off policy that drives tradie take-up.

Expect therefore a big rush to take delivery before June 30.

Top 10-selling models in 2023 (January to May):

  1. Toyota HiLux: 21,951
  2. Ford Ranger: 21,407
  3. Isuzu D-Max: 10,743
  4. Toyota RAV4: 10,665
  5. Tesla Model 3: 10,117
  6. MG ZS: 9823
  7. Mazda CX-5: 9795
  8. Mitsubishi Outlander: 9718
  9. Hyundai i30: 8691
  10. Tesla Model Y: 8442

The top 3 models for each year:

FULL YEARFirstSecondThird
2022Toyota HiLuxFord RangerToyota RAV4
2021Toyota HiLuxFord RangerToyota RAV4
2020Toyota HiLuxFord RangerToyota RAV4
2019Toyota HiLuxFord RangerToyota Corolla
2018Toyota HiLuxFord RangerToyota Corolla
2017Toyota HiluxFord RangerToyota Corolla
2016Toyota HiluxToyota CorollaHyundai i30
2015Toyota CorollaMazda3Toyota HiLux

Ute market share over the past 20 years:

MORE: How the instant asset write-off scheme has been slashed

Mike Costello
Mike Costello is a Senior Contributor at CarExpert.
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