Wednesday, 11 April 2018 11:10

An Australian favourite for work and recreation. An Australian favourite for work and recreation.

Are we giving up the slang of a nation and importing another country’s icon?
With October 2017 marking the end of Australian production of the Commodore Ute and the last of the Falcon Utes being assembled in July 2016, manufacturers have been quick to champion the hero behind their sales success – namely dual-cab ‘Trucks’. Should we really welcome the term Truck and let our treasured Ute name be a piece of history?

Even if you subscribe to the strict belief that the term ‘Ute’ should be reserved for a rear wheel drive, two door vehicle with an integrated tray – the Falcon Ute has had a separate piece ‘tub’ since the introduction of the AU series in 1998, meaning that even it didn’t conform to this often-cited definition, although the separate tub did make for some great matching trailers…So it’s clear that the term has diversified as the vehicles themselves have.

At the heart of the true definition of a Ute is our deep affinity with recreational vehicles that allow you to ‘throw in’ your dirty footy boots, sweaty high heels, cray nets, your mate’s furniture or if you were real dinkum, work tools and farm gear. The Ute didn’t discriminate either. If you needed somewhere to sleep, wanted to ride in the back at your family’s farm or your cab was full to the brim with Coke cans and Whopper wrappers – the trusty Ute was forever willing to accommodate your needs and free-up much needed passenger space.

Choosing a Japanese brand didn’t preclude you from the club either. Remember the classic “Bugger” Ads for the Toyota Hilux? Our Japanese derived cousins became iconic. Generally speaking, the Hilux, Navara, Bravo (Now BT-50) and Triton were all accepted into the sphere of Utes by your average rear wheel enthusiast. Save for a few outsiders like the Proton Jumbuck or the Subaru Brumby, most of what became the Ute sales market didn’t hail from the traditional Ute style.

So here we are in 2018, with Ford and Holden so eager and willing to drop the Ute moniker. Do we resist the marketing agenda and stubbornly continue to use the term Ute, until they restore our now broad-reaching term? Are we giving up the slang of a nation and importing another country’s icon? There will always be someone smug, who likes to point out that most modern Utes don’t conform to the strict definition. Then again, there’s always someone who thinks that Oreos are better than Tim-Tams. Let them say it. They can try and suppress the term, but they can’t take away the importance of the Ute as a term for Australia’s ‘Swiss Army Knife’. A family member, a holiday companion and above all – the work horse that helped build a nation.

So we say to Ford & Holden’s Australian Corporate offices; you can take your Truck name and put it in the ‘garbage can’, because we won’t be taking any ‘stick-shift’ trucks to the ‘mall’ or the ‘lumber yard’ anytime soon. We can all agree that a Ute describes way of living, not just a design specification.

 


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The views expressed above are that of the author and do not necessarily represent that of the MTA WA, its members or affiliates.

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