Interest rate woes and the threat of a plummeting retail landscape may continue to loom, but you wouldn’t have known it at the 2023 National 4×4 Show Series in Brisbane.

    Consumers flocked to the Brisbane Showgrounds last month in droves to support their favourite brands and look for new products for their off-road adventures.

    Isuzu Ute continued as one of the only vehicle manufacturers with a regular presence at the event, but it was joined by Ineos Automotive and its highly anticipated Grenadier.

    A number of second-stage manufacturers had vehicles on display and while they focused mostly on American-based full-sized utilities or super touring trucks, there was no shortage of highly modified and upgraded Toyota 70 Series 4x4s (76s and 79s) with the VDJ79 being the most commonly accessorised vehicle on display.

    Isuzu had around four vehicles on display, with a mix of its D-Max ute and MU-X SUV. The Isuzu demo team was also on-site, entertaining the crowds with a number of driving experiences including the gravity-defying seesaw bridge.

    This highlights the traction and control of the vehicles as they ascend a skyward ramp, pivot as the balance shifts across the centre point and descend with ease down the other side.

    Ineos, with its sole offering of the Grenadier, attracted plenty of attention yet set a very different tone and scene to the typical vehicle manufacturer’s display and sales strategy.

    With a highly limited number of vehicles being produced, the company’s sales plan continues with a base deposit securing a single vehicle and a minimum of a 12-month wait.

    But as a highly specialised, consumer-focused, well-built and capable 4×4, the Ineos Grenadier has plenty of appeal for many consumers and for most, the numerous benefits outweigh the long delay before taking ownership.

    The reality is that it’s one of the most interesting offerings within the 4×4 sector in recent times and the ethos of combining rugged off-road looks, appeal and performance with modern and luxurious appointments has resulted in a vehicle that really delivers on what consumers want.

    In effect, the Grenadier has taken many of the best points of the Land Rover Defender and Jeep Wrangler, answered most of the complaints leveled at these vehicles, and brought to market a fully coiled live front and rear axle vehicle with European style, comfort and performance supported by simplistic functionality.

    Time will tell on how the Grenadier performs, but at this stage the anticipation for the vehicle continues to grow.

    Second-stage manufacturing continues to strengthen and expand with a number of highly experienced and driven companies stretching legislation to bring a number of converted US models and upgraded local models to consumers.

    With off-roaders continually pushing the boundaries of load-carrying and towing capabilities (and ratings), second-stage manufacturing is one progressive solution solving the challenges and requirements of Aussie off-roaders to drive heavier vehicles and haul and tow heavier loads.

    As such, All Terrain Warriors covered the truck overlanding side of the market approach with a number of fully decked-out Isuzu NPS 4×4 trucks.

    Companies like GM Speciality Vehicles were also in attendance, with a number of Chevrolet Silverados on display.

    For a show that is primarily attended by aftermarket accessory manufacturers, distributors and resellers, it’s still important that manufacturers step up to support the community, show off their wares and participate in person-to-person marketing to foster goodwill.

    Credit goes to both Ineos and Isuzu for their presence and the second-stage manufacturers should be thanked for the envelopes they push and the challenges they solve to assist us in doing things more safely and with greater ease.

    No doubt it is smart marketing, but nonetheless, we must praise manufacturers for showing some form of passion, support and enthusiasm for our community.

    The patronage of manufacturers helps to keep these shows alive, diversifies the displays and offerings and provides a touch of old-school customer service where the kids and parents can all have a look inside and out of the latest vehicles.

    The National 4×4 Show Series consists of three events held along the eastern seaboard of Australia at key population points: namely Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

    Sydney will fall around the middle of the year (off the back of last year’s successful Sydney 4×4 Show) and Melbourne will again play out in mid-August (after the record attendance at the Royal Melbourne Showgrounds last year).

    There’s also the a series of shows by the “other team”, with the Perth, Sydney and Adelaide 4WD and Adventure Shows.

    Simon Christie
    Simon Christie is the Off-road Editor at CarExpert.
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