Over the next couple of years, a slew of new bakkies will arrive in South Africa.
Two of these are familiar to South Africans, while the third one is somewhat unknown.
The Isuzu D-Max and Mitsubishi Triton are no strangers to our market, and each bakkie will see a new model make its arrival. In the D-Max's case, Isuzu SA acquired the rights to build the next-gen bakkie at its plant in Port Elizabeth, which should only continue the bakkie's trend of being a 'proudly built in SA' product.
The Triton is not the strongest selling bakkie in our market, but it is a reckoned contender thanks to its supple ride quality and remarkable off-road attributes.
The Jeep Gladiator is a new arrival. Though it was revealed in 2018, the bakkie is already on-sale in some markets, but South Africa has to wait for it to make its local debut. It looks like nothing we've ever seen and creates an aura that this is one bakkie that should not be messed with.
Do you think any of these bakkies will make an impression on our market? Email us.
You don't normally associate Jeep with bakkies, but the Gladiator has been thrown into the mix and could well prove to be an instant success in the already tightly-contested bakkie market.
Or it could go the other way and not sell particularly well, like what happened to the Mercedes-Benz X-Class. There is no guessing where the marker will officially land.
The Gladiator is available in base Sport, Sport S, Overland and Rubicon trim levels. It will also be powered by a 3.6-litre V6 engine mated to either a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic gearbox. A 3.0-litre V6 diesel is also on offer.
With Hyundai and Peugeot also busy with bakkies of their own, Jeep's introduction to the market is a statement of intent to try and steal some of the pie that Toyota currently enjoys. As is the case with most cars, pricing will be vital.
2020 Jeep Gladiator. Image: QuickPic
The D-Max is right up there with some of South Africa's best-selling bakkies, and soon there will be a new version to make its introduction.With the latest iteration, buyers can choose from a total of five new automatic models while retaining the solid reputation the D-Max range has to offer.
The new version will go up against the Ford Ranger and Toyota Hilux, and make up the remaining third of South Africa's best-selling bakkies. Power comes courtesy of the proven 3.0-litre diesel engine, with a new 1.9-litre diesel engine making its debut.
Bakkies sell in South Africa, and the D-Max will not be short of suitors when it touches down locally. This will provide a tantalising prospect for those not wanting to go the Ranger or Hilux route.
The Triton name was first introduced to the South African market back in 2006 and has become a familiar fixture on the local bakkie list.
Just like the D-Max, Mitsubishi is introducing a new version of their stalwart bakkie, presumably sometime in 2021. Boasting a sharper design and a host of new features, it could well ruffle a few feathers in the local bakkie race. Its design is similar to that of other Mitsubishi models - like the Eclipse Cross and Outlander - but it is expected that the new model will undercut its rivals on price.
The Triton generally trails the heavy-hitters in terms of sales, but the 'new kid on the block' is now more refined than previous generations. Mitsubishi will hope that the new bakkie will find greater sales success in South Africa.
Mitsubishi Triton. Image: Mitsubishi Media
Wheels24's Charlen Raymond says: South Africans love their bakkies. The segment is perhaps the healthiest in the country, led by the immortal Toyota Hilux. With the arrival of these three bakkies on the horizon, one can be confident that they will have the Hilux in sight, and will be looking to topple the market leader in more ways than one.
The Gladiator is the newest of the trio and is unlike anything we've ever seen. Jeep says that the Gladiator is a midsize bakkie, but chances are that it's a more likely rival to the Toyota Land Cruiser pick-up. Whether up against the Land Cruiser or the Hilux (and Ford Ranger), Jeep needs have its wits about it if it is to make any headway into our market.
As Classen mentioned, pricing will be key. But with it - and remembering that the bakkie was first shown two years ago - Jeep can't wait too long to introduce it locally, or they might run the risk of asking a pretty penny for an 'old' bakkie.
The Triton and D-Max are familiar bakkies and will continue their sales trends without virtually any interruption. The D-Max will be a favourite among buyers and should, at least for the first month or two, give the Hilux a strong run for its money when the sales are tallied. Locally, however, Mitsubishi has to invest in marketing if it wants its Triton to make an impact the way it should be.
Of all three, I believe the D-max will be strongest contender.
Isuzu D-Max. Image: Isuzu Media