Demand for US pick-ups in Australia continues to reach new heights and the queues are getting longer, with some deliveries pushed into next year.
Sales of V8-powered US pick-ups appear to know no bounds – and continue to outpace electric-car sales locally – with delivery times pushed into next year for popular models such as the Ram 1500 and Chevrolet Silverado 1500.
Despite most examples costing in excess of $120,000 by the time they’re in the traffic, demand is so strong the average waiting time for a US pick-up quoted by numerous dealers contacted by Drive is four months.
However, in some cases, dealers are quoting delivery times of early next year.
According to official data compiled by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, there have been 3800 US pick-ups reported as sold so far this year, versus 3100 electric cars.
The electric car sales figure does not include Tesla as the US specialist does not supply data. However according to the industry scoreboard, US pick-ups still outsell electric cars in Australia, despite EVs also enjoying rapid growth.
Contrary to perception, Australian deliveries of the Ram 1500 and Chevrolet Silverado 1500 have been largely shielded from interruptions to production in the US and South America caused by global semiconductor shortages.
US pick-ups bound for Australia are built in a few shifts at the mass-production plants, and the vehicles are stockpiled or shipped to Australia in large batches.
The bottleneck is the capacity of the Walkinshaw Automotive Group – the former parent company of Holden Special Vehicles – which is already working around the clock five days a week to keep up with demand.
The vehicles are re-engineered and remanufactured to right-hand-drive to US factory standards at Walkinshaw’s facility in Clayton, near Melbourne, before being trucked to dealers.
Unlike other Australian vehicle converters that privately import US pick-ups without factory support or backing, the pick-ups converted by the Walkinshaw Automotive Group on behalf of Ram Trucks Australia and Chevrolet have been crash-tested and use original equipment suppliers for critical components such as steering systems and dashboards.
Ram and Chevrolet are both on track to post sales records in Australia this year, with Ram outselling Chevrolet pick-ups by about two-to-one.
Ram expects to sell about 5000 pick-ups in Australia this year, with Chevrolet on track to deliver a bit less than half that amount.
Joshua Dowling has been a motoring journalist for more than 20 years, spending most of that time working for The Sydney Morning Herald (as motoring editor and one of the early members of the Drive team) and News Corp Australia. He joined CarAdvice / Drive in late 2018, and has been a World Car of the Year judge for 10 years.