The new light commercial vehicle market completed three months of growth in the year to 31 March and pick-up and 4×4 sales conformed to the upward trend.

Sales of pick-up trucks in the high-volume, plate-change month of March grew 29.3% year-on-year to 5,762 while sales in the niche and often volatile 4×4 sector rocketed 183.4% to 1,264, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

In the first quarter of 2023, pick-up sales were up 28.8% to 9,864 compared to the same period last year and 4×4 sales were up 132.8% to 1,858.

The Ford Ranger was the UK’s third top-selling LCV in both March and the year-to-date and the Toyota Hilux was the tenth best seller in the year to 31 March.

Ford’s stranglehold on the pick-up sector is likely to tighten further with new additions to the Ranger line-up. In March, it introduced the Wildtrak X and Tremor. Both models are off-road oriented but while the Wildtrak X sits above the Wildtrak in the line-up, the Tremor is designed as more of a workhorse. Both are powered by Ford’s 2.0-litre EcoBlue bi-turbo diesel engine producing 500Nm of torque and 205hp and are paired with ten-speed automatic transmission.

They follow hot on the heels of the introduction of the luxurious, on-road oriented Platinum, which is powered by Ford’s 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel engine, which produces power of 240hp and maximum torque of 600Nm. 

Customers can now choose from seven Ranger derivatives once the flagship Raptor, Wildtrak, XLT and XL are factored in.

Ford expects the high-performance Raptor, which is not VAT-exempt due to its sub-1,000kg payload, to account for 7% of Ranger sales.

Meanwhile hardtop specialist Truckman has launched new accessories for the Ranger. These include four hardtops aimed at the lifestyle market: the Grand, which features pop-out windows; the GLS, with sliding side windows; the S-Series, with gull-wing doors; and the solid-sided S-Series. All include remote central locking. A range of commercial hardtops has also been developed, starting with the cab-high Truckman RS, which can be customised for commercial customers with beacons, vents, racking, and a conduit to power electrical equipment in the truck bed. High-roof commercial hardtops the Truckman Classic and Utility have also joined the range.

Ford has introduced electric power to its F150 Lightening pick-up in the US but will not be drawn on when it will bring this technology in the UK, which has left SAIC-owned Maxus to lead the way with the launch of its electric T90EV pick-up truck. The two-wheel drive model features a 205hp electric motor, and an 88.55kWh battery pack, allowing
a claimed range of up to 220 miles on the WLTP combined cycle. It has a 1.0t payload and 1.5t towing capacity. Maxus forecasts sales of 1,500 T90EVs in 2023.

SsangYong has introduced a new version of its Musso pick-up truck, featuring a load bed extended by 31cm compared with the rest of the range.

Available with the new range-topping Saracen+ trim level, the new variant uses the same chassis and platform as the rest of the line-up, and also their double-cab passenger area, but with increased load volume capacity, with the bed length up from 130cm to 161cm.

Payload is also increased – at 1,205kg at least 100kg above the rest of the range.

Saracen+ spec also comes with styling features such as black trim on the door mirrors, beltline and tailgate, and black 18in alloy wheels.


Ford Ranger Tremor March 2023

Ford Ranger WildtrakMarch 2023

Maxus T90EV March 2023

SsangYong Musso Saracen+ March 2023