Ute (vehicle)

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2015 Ford FG X Falcon Ute
2014 Holden VF Commodore Ute
Toyota Hilux Ute, the highest selling vehicle in Australia in 2017[1][2]

A ute (/juːt/ YOOT), originally an abbreviation for "utility" or "coupé utility", is a term used in Australia and New Zealand to describe vehicles with a tray behind the passenger compartment, that can be driven with a regular driver's license.

Traditionally the term referred to vehicles build on passenger car chassis and with the cargo tray integrated with the passenger body. However, present-day usage of the term "ute" in Australia and New Zealand has expanded to include any vehicle with an open cargo area at the rear;[3][4][5][6][7] which would be called a pickup truck in other countries.

The Australian ute is claimed to have been invented by Ford in 1934; however, similar vehicles had been in production in the United States since the 1920s. Production of Australian designed utes ceased in 2017, when local production of the Holden Commodore finished.

Etymology[edit]

Ford Ranger Ute, the 3rd highest selling vehicle in Australia in 2017[1][2]

Historically, the term "ute" (short for 'utility vehicle') has been used to describe a 2-door vehicle based on a passenger car chassis, such as the Holden Commodore, Australian Ford Falcon, Chevrolet El Camino and Subaru BRAT. Australian produced utes were traditionally rear-wheel drive and with the cargo tray integrated with the passenger body (as opposed to a pickup truck, where the cargo tray is separated from the passenger body).

In the 21st century, the term has become more broadly used, for any vehicle with a cargo tray at the rear (which would be called a pickup truck in other countries).[1][8] [9][10][11][12]

History[edit]

The first Australian ute: a 1934 Ford Australia Coupe Utility
Roadster Utility: a 1927 Chevrolet National

The concept of a two-door vehicle based on a passenger car chassis with a tray at the rear began in the United States in the 1920s with the roadster utility (also called "roadster pickup" or "light delivery") models.[13] These vehicles were soft-top convertibles, compared with the fixed steel roof used by most utes.

Ford Australia is claimed to be the first company to produce an Australian "ute", which was released in 1934.[14] This was the result of a 1932 letter from the unnamed wife of a farmer in Australia asking for “a vehicle to go to church in on a Sunday and which can carry our pigs to market on Mondays”.[14] In response, Ford designer Lew Bandt designed a two-door body with a tray at the rear for the American Ford Model A chassis, and the model was named "coupe utility".[14] When the Australian version was displayed in the US, Henry Ford nicknamed it the "Kangaroo Chaser". A convertible version, known as the roadster utility was produced in limited numbers by Ford in the 1930s.[15][16]

In 1951, Holden released a "utility" model, which was based on the 48–215 sedan. With both Ford and Holden now producing utes, this started the long-standing tradition of Australian-designed 2 door vehicles with a tray at the back, based on a passenger-car sedan chassis.[17]

Cultural impact[edit]

2010 HSV Maloo R8

Australia has developed a culture around utes, particularly in rural areas with events known as Ute musters. It is common, particularly in rural areas, to customise utes in the "B&S style" with bullbars, spotlights, oversized mudflaps, exhaust pipe flaps and UHF aerials.[18] Since 1998, the "Deni Ute Muster" has been held in the town of Deniliquin, which has become a major attraction for the area.[19][20]

High performance utes were also sold in Australia, including the FPV F6 and the HSV Maloo.[21] The 2017 HSV GTSR Maloo is powered by a 6.2 L (378 cu in) supercharged V8 engine producing 425 kW (570 hp).[22][23]

The Australian V8 Utes is a racing series based on lightly modified production Holden and Ford utes.

Australian built models[edit]

Ford[edit]

1936 Ford Model 48 coupé utility, with a roadster top
2001/2002 Ford AU III Falcon XL utility.

The ute variant of the Ford Falcon was produced from 1961-2016.[13] For the first 38 years, the design used a monocoque chassis, which is the traditional design for a ute. Since the 1999 AU Falcon, the Falcon ute switched to a cargo bed has been separate from the cabin, while still retaining the Falcon sedan front-end and cabin.[24] The cargo bed was separated so that both "utility" and "cab chassis" body styles could be produced together. This separate cab-chassis design challenged the notion that the word "ute" referred to a monocoque body style.

Between 1998-2013, the Brazilian-built Ford Courier ute was also sold in Australia.

Utes produced by Ford in Australia:

Holden[edit]

1953-1957 FJ Holden Ute
1971-1974 HQ Holden Ute

From 1951–1968, the "utility" was sold as part of the 48–215 to HR model ranges. [26] From 1968–1984 the "utility" was included in the Holden Belmont/Kingswood range. In 1984, Holden discontinued the ute variant and it was not part of the VB to VL Commodore ranges. The model returned in 1990 based on the VN Commodore chassis and remained part of the model range until Australian production ended in 2017. In 2000, the Holden Commodore was the first Australian ute to feature independent rear suspension,[27] the Ford Falcon ute retained a live axle rear suspension design until production ended in 2016.[28]

In 2008, the VE Commodore Ute was proposed to be exported to North America as the Pontiac G8 ST. At least one prototype was built, but GM decided not to proceed with production due to the Global Financial Crisis.[29][30]

Utes produced by Holden or its parent company General Motors in Australia:

Chrysler[edit]

1970-1971 Chrysler Valiant VG Ute

Models:

British Leyland[edit]

Models:

Hillman[edit]

Models:

Asian-built models[edit]

Nissan[edit]

Between 1971-2008 Nissan sold the Nissan Sunny Truck as a ute in Australia.

Proton[edit]

Proton Jumbuck

Between 2002-2010, the Proton Jumbuck was sold in Australia as a ute.

Subaru[edit]

1989 Subaru Brumby

Perhaps the best known ute produced by a Japanese manufacturer is the Subaru Brumby, a small AWD model derived from the second generation Leone. It was sold between 1978–1993 and known as the BRAT, Shifter, MV, and Targa in countries other than Australia. It is relatively well known due to its long production life and use in popular culture. It was built in Japan, but never sold there.

Suzuki[edit]

Suzuki Mighty Boy

From 1983 to 1988, Suzuki built a ute version of their Alto kei car called the Mighty Boy. It was sold in Japan, Australia, and Cyprus.

Toyota[edit]

1962-1967 Toyota Crown utility
1962 Toyota Corona pickup

Between 1960 and 1970, Toyota sold a ute variant of the second- and third-generation Corona with an integral bed. It was sold alongside its eventual replacement, the Toyota Hilux, for a couple of years before it was discontinued. Toyota also sold a locally produced CKD ute based on the second- and third-generation Crown (also known as S40 and S50), assembled by Australian Motor Industries.

In 2011, the Toyota Hilux was Australia's highest selling ute.[33]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Utes and SUV's Australia's most popular cars
  2. ^ a b "Australian vehicle sales for December 2017 (VFACTS) – best of the year". www.performancedrive.com.au. 2018-01-04. Retrieved 2018-11-13.
  3. ^ Governments Should Purchase 4-Star Utes – Australian Automobile Association
  4. ^ Ute buyers guide – New Zealand Automobile Association
  5. ^ Why does ISIS have so many Toyota Hilux utes? – Television New Zealand
  6. ^ Bumbling thieves smash brick wall, steal safe — Sydney Morning Herald (quote="Hilux ute")
  7. ^ Stolen WorkSafe ute causes mayhem across Hastings as it flees police
  8. ^ Driven ranks the utes available in New Zealand – Driven NZ
  9. ^ "Dodge Ram: big US ute set for Australia – CarAdvice".
  10. ^ "Used car review Subaru Brumby 1984–1994".
  11. ^ Top 5 best-selling utes of September 2017 – WhichCar AU
  12. ^ Top 5 Utes 4wd – CarAdvice AU
  13. ^ a b "Automotive History – The Aussie Ute". www.curbsideclassic.com. Retrieved 2018-11-05.
  14. ^ a b c Warner, Gary (1999-08-08). "Who built the first utility – where – when..." www.fastlane.com.au. Archived from the original on 2010-04-12. Retrieved 2010-04-01.
  15. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-10-09. Retrieved 2012-10-20.
  16. ^ "PickupTruck.Com – A History of the American Pickup Truck".
  17. ^ Short, Mark. "History of the Holden ute".
  18. ^ "Landline – 13/10/01: Deniliquin taps into Ute fever . Australian Broadcasting Corp".
  19. ^ "Deni Ute Muster". www.deniutemuster.com.au. Retrieved 2018-11-06.
  20. ^ "A look inside Australia's wildest festival in outback NSW". www.news.com.au. Retrieved 2018-11-06.
  21. ^ "Holden HSV Maloo R8 is World Fastest Ute". Worldcarfans. 2006-07-10. Retrieved 2009-04-25.
  22. ^ "2017 HSV GTSR MALOO (base) Pricing and Specs". www.carsguide.com.au. Retrieved 2018-11-06.
  23. ^ "HSV GTSR Maloo (2017)". www.netcarshow.com. Retrieved 2018-11-06.
  24. ^ Hawley, Jonathan (2010-05-28). "The Creation of an Aussie Icon". Drive. Fairfax Media. Archived from the original on 2011-07-22. Retrieved 2010-06-29.
  25. ^ Unique of the Week: 1974 Ford Falcon XB Ute
  26. ^ "Holden Ute Classics". Classic Holden Cars. Australia. Retrieved 2018-03-18.
  27. ^ "Buying Used: Holden V6 Ute VU-VZ (2000-2006)". CarSales. Australia. 2012-03-20. Retrieved 2018-03-18.
  28. ^ drive.com.au. "Buy Used Cars for Sale".
  29. ^ "2010 Pontiac G8 ST Pickup Killed". www.caranddriver.com. Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  30. ^ "Pontiac G8 ST sport truck killed by GM". www.autoweek.com. Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  31. ^ "Valiant VG Technical Specifications". www.uniquecarsandparts.com.au. Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  32. ^ Rootes Australia advertisement for "The new Hillman de luxe Utility", Power Farming in Australia and New Zealand, August 1956, page 100
  33. ^ Colquhoun, Steve (2011-10-14). "Best Ute".

Bibliography[edit]