The UK’s pick-up sector has endured something of a rude awakening lately compared to its swaggering heyday of a few years ago when aggressively-styled double-cab lifestyle models with macho nameplates dominated the market.

Its dependence on big diesel engines has not helped as the industry focus (and investment) has switched towards electrification and several big players have left the pick-up market.

The semi-conductor crisis, which has decimated sales across the board, has not helped either.

It came as a surprise then that October saw the first monthly rise in pick-up registrations this year – up almost 28% to 2,348, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. The niche 4×4 sector was also up, by 18% to 381 units.

Over the first 10 months of 2022, however, both sectors were down year-on-year, pick-ups by 33.5% to 24,009 and 4x4s by 32% to 2,540.

Nevertheless, the UK’s top-selling pick-up truck, the Ford Ranger, was
the nation’s fourth most popular LCV overall in the year to 31 October with sales of 13,400.

Ford opened orders for the range-topping Raptor version of its new-generation Ranger pick-up in the summer. The Raptor will be the first version of the new Ranger to become available in the UK and could break cover before the end of the year. Designed for high performance off-roading, it features a twin-turbo, 3.0L V6 petrol engine, Fox Live Valve dampers, seven selectable drive modes and an active exhaust system. Prices start at £57,340, including VAT, which cannot be reclaimed as the Raptor has a payload of less than one tonne.

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles (VWCV) has revealed details of its forthcoming new Amarok pick-up, which is based on the next generation Ford Ranger under the product collaboration deal struck between the brands. Both models will be built at Ford’s plant in Silverton, South Africa and the platform share will see the Amarok available as a single-cab as well as a double-cab for the first time. 

VWCV will produce the new Amarok with four turbocharged diesel engines and one turbocharged petrol engine, although it is likely the truck will be marketed in the UK with just the diesel units. The brand says it is launching the Amarok with a 10-year planning cycle on a platform that carries the flexibility to produce electric variants in the future.

Both the Amarok and the new Ranger were on display at the IAA in Hanover in September and are expected to go on sale in the UK in the first quarter of 2023.

Ford has demonstrated what can be done with electric pick-ups with its North American F150 Lightning. It has two electric motors, all-wheel-drive, up to 570hp and 1,050Nm of torque. Tipping the scales at nearly 3.0t, it can dash from 0 to 60mph in just 4.3 seconds and still serve up a claimed range of 320 miles from the extended battery thanks to a massive 131kWh battery. It can tow 4.5t and has a one-tonne payload capacity. It also houses the ‘Frunk’: a 400L storage space under the bonnet. At 2.4m wide it’s far bigger than UK pick-up trucks but with the new Ranger chassis capable of taking both petrol and diesel powertrains, it will be intriguing to see if Ford moves to fit something electric there too.

Meanwhile, the first electric pick-up truck to go on sale in the UK, the Maxus T90, is set to arrive in showrooms in December.