Wheels24 recently published an article on half-tonne bakkies that should make their way to South Africa.
These included half-tonners from Ford, Volkswagen, and Renault. Whether or not these options would find their way to our market remains to be seen. But what is certain is that South Africans are eager to receive them.
Readers responded to our article quite favourably, with the vast majority asking for automakers to heed these calls. Things are not as easy as 1-2-3, but the South African public is proving to be a viable case study as they look to convince these automakers to do it.
Here are three of the responses we received.
Pieter van der Heever said: "The bakkies in the SA market only got bigger and bigger over the years I remember the Ford Cortina bakkie and the Toyota Hilux from the late 80s and early 90s. They were small compared to the bakkies available today, but we all fitted it quite nicely.
"I can't wait for a new, modern half-tonne bakkie to hit the South African market. I had so much hope for the new Fiat Strada or VW Saveiro. You can't argue against it; these bakkies would be an instant hit in SA!"
Do you think a rear-wheel-drive half-tonne bakkie will do well in SA? Email us with your reasoning.
Volkswagen Tarok, a double cab version of the Saveiro. Image: Volkswagen NewsRoom
Had to upgrade
Tim Anderson has been driving a Ford Bantam for many years, but had to upgrade recently. And, he says, buying a Nissan NP200 was not an option.
Anderson wrote: "I would certainly look at these half-tonne bakkies favourably. When replacing my old Bantam, which had done sterling service, there weren't really any alternatives. The Nissan wasn't an option, as the dealership in the town where I live is useless and the personnel arrogant. So where to now?"
"The only options are all huge monstrosities that are almost impossible to park in one movement. And while fuel-efficiency improved over the years, they are all still thirsty animals. I eventually stayed with Ford, bit the bullet, and bought a Ranger XLT automatic.
The thing is, I suspect bakkie manufacturers won't put half-tonne bakkies on the market, because it will cannibalise the one-tonne bakkie sales. But I, for one, can't wait to downsize. Come on, bring on the competition!"
Anderson says his Bantam had no issues pulling his boat. Image: Tim Anderson
'What is wrong with you?!'
Geoffrey King did not mince his words about how he felt and laid his feelings on the table in absolutely no uncertain terms. He wrote: "What is wrong with the vehicle manufacturers? Don't they do their homework? Any manufacturer who brings out a rear-wheel-drive half-tonne bakkie will dominate this sector of the market!
"A loaded, rear-wheel-drive bakkie handles far better and is more practical than a front-wheel-drive. I'm sure that many farmers and construction companies would prefer small bakkies, but front-wheel-drive just doesn't cut it when used off the tarmac!
"Why do you think the Nissan 1200 and 1400 were so successful? Because they were fitted with a rear-wheel-drive system! Wake up, vehicle designers! Here's a suggestion, look at designing a half- tonne, with four-wheel-drive!"
Nissan Champ 1400. Image: MotorPress
There can be no denying that the bakkie market is an evolving one. Today, bakkies that retail from under R200 000 to more than R1.0-million. It's a broad market, all ranging from single to double cabs. And this includes the Nissan NP200, only because it does not have any direct rivals.
If, for instance, Ford brings a new half-tonne bakkie to market, or VW brings its Tarok, then suddenly it opens the market up completely! These half-tonners will be double cabs, rear-wheel-drive, and built with the sole purpose of being leisure and lifestyle offerings.
In the Ford Ranger and VW Amarok's case, it should not be a case of whether or not the new bakkies will steal sales away from them. You are opening yourselves up to a new demographic and a new buyer who want a double can bakkie, but without the size that comes with it. It's a definite no-brainer that the 'Bronco Pick-up' and Tarok will speak to an audience, an audience keen on making the most of every weekend.
Whether it's the Bronco Pick-up, Tarok, or Renault Duster Oroch, there is an opportunity to be had, and it remains to be seen which automaker will blink first.Ford 'Bronco Pick-up'. Image: Kleber Silva