The Melbourne National 4×4 Show ran recently at The Royal Melbourne Showgrounds with solid foot traffic, continued confidence from the aftermarket 4×4 accessory industry and a somewhat positive showing of vehicle manufacturers.

    In the past two years, post-COVID, the National 4×4 Shows have seen slim to nil support from vehicle manufacturers. Prior to lockdowns, the shows typically attracted a solid diversity of manufacturers. But in recent years it had only been Isuzu Ute taking advantage of the shows’ broad customer attendance and they were there again this year.

    Staff on the Isuzu Ute stand said the show offered an excellent opportunity to get their offerings under the noses of thousands of 4WD enthusiasts, new car buyers and potential customers with the big difference being that consumers could see the vehicles first hand, open and close doors, sit inside and really get a feel for the product, short of a test drive.

    They also said that they had confidently sold a number of units while attending the current show, making their presence at the event well worth it. But this year it wasn’t just Isuzu Ute at the Melbourne 4×4 show and it was positive to see a number of other manufacturers in attendance, including Ineos and Mahindra along with secondary stage manufacturers such as DMW, SV Speciality Vehicles and Rambler Vehicles.

    Following on from its success at the Brisbane 4×4 Show earlier this year, Ineos had two examples of its Grenadier on display. It was a small outdoor stand, as opposed to the larger indoor stand of Isuzu Ute, and as always, the Grenadier was commanding plenty of attention.

    As a new entry to the market and one of the few ‘live front axle’ 4WDs on sale in Australia, the Ineos Grenadier holds prime interest, is in hot demand and is making quite a few waves within the industry.

    With rugged good looks yet seemingly spartan styling, the Grenadier hails back to the much loved Land Rover Defender – mind you, the Grenadier is packed with far more creature comforts than any old Defender ever was!

    For a British-designed, French-made 4×4 with a BMW engine, the Grenadier is proving to be a real hit amongst both 4×4 and automotive enthusiasts.

    Also attending this year was Mahindra, with a slightly larger outdoor stand and four vehicles on display. Similar to Isuzu Ute, Mahindra had also opted to have a model on display sporting an aluminium drop side tray and both Isuzu Ute and Mahindra staff spoke of the interest they had sparked.

    While aimed at tradies and farmers, the commercial look appealed to the mindset of many.

    Mahindra first joined the Australian market back in 2007 with the launch of the PikUp Ute, a not so visually appealing and basic vehicle that was available in either dual- or single-cab versions. They were originally distributed by TMI Pacific (a division of the Tynan Motor Group) until around 2011 when this joint venture was bought back as a 100 per cent owned subsidiary of M&M Ltd.

    In recent years, Mahindra has been making a solid push into the Aussie 4×4 market, ramping up advertising, working with local influencers and running an interesting to say the least ‘record-breaking’ crossing of the Simpson Desert.

    On display were examples of their latest PikUp and the all new Scorpio, a mid-sized, diesel-powered, six-speed automatic, 4WD wagon, that boasts an impressive list of features at an attractive price.

    With the 4×4 shows focussing on 4×4 aftermarket accessories, they do attract a large audience of genuine 4WD users. Typically, with more than 30,000 enthusiasts visiting both the Brisbane and Melbourne 4×4 Shows across their respective weekends, the shows are the ideal place for manufacturers to feature their latest release vehicles and interact directly with a raft of potential customers.

    Furthermore, the new vehicle and aftermarket accessory industries go hand in hand and the support and involvement from vehicle manufacturers, while typically dismal, should be a high priority.

    Sadly it isn’t for many manufacturers who, right or wrong, seem to be enjoying a position of high demand, premium pricing and delayed delivery schedules.

    As such, full credit goes to Isuzu Ute, Mahindra and Ineos for stepping up to support the broader community with their attendance, and for that part, contributing to the value, diversity and quality of the 4×4 show and the attraction of many more vehicles on display overall, which did include a great range of new, modified and older rigs!

    It’s interesting to note though that while the Toyota Landcruiser 79s ruled as always and the big American trucks were out in force, It was the Jimnys that actually stole the show, again proving how popular and appealing these tough little 4x4s are. Of particular interest were the offerings from Raslarr Engineering, DMW and Legendex.

    Raslarr’s Jimny was a comparatively basic build sporting the company’s bar work, a Tough Dog Suspension three inch lift and a sandy taupe exterior to match its 79. The DMW Jimny was presented as a custom chop with an XTR tray and removable canopy with a roof top tent.

    The Legendex Jimny was the stand out though with an extended wheelbase, DMW tray, 35-inch Mickey Thompson Baja Boss MT tyres and a long list of modifications that make it one of the best Jimnys in the country. Check out @thelittlerig on Instagram for more images and info.

    The National 4×4 Show series runs each year in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. Stay tuned for more updates and look out for these shows running again in 2024.

    Simon Christie
    Simon Christie is a Contributor at CarExpert.