Bakkies in South Africa
1-tonne trucks or bakkies are extremely popular in South Africa and it doesn’t look they will be going away any time soon. Whether it’s off-road’ing on a farm in the Free State, to sitting in traffic in town or picking up the kids in Sandton, these cars fit the bill and are perfectly suited to the job. This is largely due to the fact that they are so reliable and tough and are adept at maneuvering past potholes and having masses of space to carry a whole family or a herd of sheep on the back.
The other option, for people looking for something a little smaller, and cheaper, are a number of single cab trucks or bakkies. These have similarly proven to be popular among South Africans, especially in the used car market. The prime example is the Opel Corsa Utility, which for its limited size, still packs a big punch. The biggest selling point for these Corsa’s is their cost, you can pick up a used Corsa Utility for around R70 000 – R90 000 with a decent year and mileage.
The current double cab bakkie contenders
The Toyota Hilux double cab bakkie
The Toyota bakkie has been a firm favourite in South Africa, especially in the used car market and has undergone quite a few facelifts over the years. As previously mentioned the bakkie is almost indestructible, a point which was proven by TopGear, a popular BBC car program that attempted a number of tasks to destroy the Toyota which ended with the car being placed atop a building that got demolished. And yet the car still started and could drive, paying testament to the reliability and hardiness that is the Toyota bakkie.
Nissan Hardbody / Navara
The Nissan Hardboy is another equally popular bakkie which, like the Toyota, relies on an image of indestructibility and toughness that will last many years and a number of kilometers on the clock. This is shown by the fact that there are many used Nissan bakkies with a few hundred kilometers on the clock that are still doing the rounds in the used car market.
While not as popular as the previous models, the Mitsubishi Triton still provides all the space, reliability and performance that South Africans have come to expect in their bakkies. The price range of used Mitsubishi Bakkies is very similar to the other two brands, and remains competitive within the industry.
The new Volkswagen Amarok
As one of the biggest car manufacturers in the world it was surprising that Volkswagen was not a competitor in the double cab, truck and bakkie market in South Africa for so long. This however has all changed now with the introduction of the Volkswagen Amarok, Volkswagen’s venture into the Bakkie market.
The Amarok will come with 2 diesel engine options, a 120kw 2.0 TDI and a 4 cylinder 90kw TDI. The turbo charged engines boast low fuel consumption stats with the 90kw TDI consuming just 7.6 liters per 100km. There will be 2 variants available, the Trendline and the Highline, with the Highline including far more features and comforts. Another selling point of the Amarok is its space, especially in the interior. It also boasts the widest load space in its class which should be a strong selling point for buyers looking for a load-bearing vehicle.
The Amarok has great looks, and matches the VW front end styling and curves. The Amarok will be available in South Africa later in 2010 and I’m sure it will be a hit. South Africans love pretty much love all the Volkswagen models and the Amarok should be no exception, even in later years when it is doing the rounds in the used car market.
What does this mean for the South African bakkie market?
Plainly put; more competition and more variation, which for all parties involved is a good thing as it keeps prices down and gives buyers more options when looking for a bakkie that suits their exact needs. The Amarok will probably be popular among a younger crowd who still need the space and utility of a large double cab along with good looks, however those buyers who are looking for straight-up quality, reliability and toughness will probably still favour the Toyota.