The Ford Ranger is leading the way as the UK’s pick-up market continues to thrive.
In a positive year for the new LCV market overall sales of pick-up trucks grew 38.7% in 2023 to 41,003 while sales of 4x4 vans rose 85% to 829 units, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
The UK’s most popular pick-up truck, the Ford Ranger was the fourth best-selling light commercial vehicle last year, notching up 18,679 registrations and the Toyota Hilux also featured in the top 10, in ninth spot, with a total of 10,888 registrations.
The biennial International Pick-up Award returned in 2023 and the prestigious prize (for 2024) was jointly carried off by the Ford Ranger and Volkswagen Amarok, both of which are jointly developed and built upon the same platform.
The result meant both models have secured an unprecedented ‘hat-trick’ in the awards. The Ranger added to the titles it won in 2013 and 2020 while the Amarok won the inaugural trophy in 2011 and triumphed again in 2018.
“Following the IPUA 2023 Group Tests, held in Greece [last year] (October 2023), it was impossible to separate the two models from each other, as both the new Ranger and Amarok were co-developed and are made at the Ford factory in South Africa. Although a collaboration project, each manufacturer has managed to maintain their unique styling and driving traits, which customers will testify,” commented Jarlath Sweeney, chairman of the International Pick-Up Award jury.
The pair reinforced their pre-eminence in the sector by also sharing the What Van? Pick-up of the Year Award for 2024.
The Editor’s Choice Award was captured by the Toyota Hydrogen Hilux. With battery-electric technology not necessarily providing an ideal alternative to the internal combustion engine for pick-ups, particularly in terms of range and robustness, Toyota has seized the initiative in exploring whether fuel cell hydrogen could provide the answer. Developed at Toyota’s facility in Burnaston, the vehicle’s powertrain is based on that of Toyota’s second-generation Mirai hydrogen car.
The manufacturer says 10 prototypes will undergo real-world testing with UK customers this year. Staying with the Hilux, Toyota has approved Truckman’s ARB Ascent hardtop for installation on the truck. Features of the hardtop include electric push-button lift-up side windows, and a plug-and-play wiring loom which allows it to integrate with the vehicle’s existing locking mechanism and be locked with the truck’s key fob.
The hardtop is designed to withstand 100kg dynamic and up to 400kg static weights, and comes matched to Toyota’s standard factory colours.
Other features include a spoiler, LED brake light, internal LED light, and a vent catch that allows the window to be adjusted between a lift-up or pop-out position. A manufacturer that has chosen to develop battery-electric pick-ups is Maxus and its T90 is gaining some traction in the marketplace. Peel Ports has added four of the vehicles to its fleet via its leasing partner Activa. The T90s are for use by the ports’ security service, which is run in conjunction with and staffed by the police.
Peel Ports says the vehicles offer advantages including reduced emissions and lower operating costs.
Finally, Ssangyong Motors UK, which imports the Musso pick-up truck to the UK, has announced a change of name to KGM Motors UK to bring it in line with its Korean supplier.
Toyota approves Truckman’s ARB Ascent hardtop December 2023
Ssangyong rebrands as KGM January 2024
Toyota Hydrogen Hilux trial (est) January 2024