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Affordable bakkies - buying Eastern alternatives in South Africa

2018-04-10 08:20

Lance Branquinho

Image: QuickPic

Cape Town - As the South African economy rebounds with optimism in 2018, demand for our favourite vehicle configuration is sure to benefit, which means healthy revenue if you are in the bakkie business. Or does it?

Toyota and Ford assemble and deliver a tremendous amount of bakkies for local consumption each month and turn a very tidy profit doing it. With double-cab bakkie prices having established new ceilings thanks to VW’s Amarok V6 in 2017 and X-Class this year, the entire market has been given a margin of price escalation to manoeuvre into.

Peripheral bakkie brands

What about the peripheral bakkie brands, those who sell a great deal fewer units per month than either Ranger or Hilux? 

In South Africa there has been established bakkie brands which have regressed. Most notably Mitsubishi, which once dominated the market with its Colt range, yet last month only managed to sell 44 Tritons, despite the latest version of that being an entirely convincing and credibly capable double-cab.

It’s the market way below Triton which is most interesting, where Indian and Chinese bakkie brands operate, in a segment where new bakkie pricing competes against the prospect of a pre-owned Hilux or Ranger. 

Most South Africans would appear to prefer buying a Japanese/American bakkie with significant mileage instead of a new Indian or Chinese rival. Despite this, certain alternative bakkie brands are doing than others. 

JMC 

Selling only 28 units amongst its five bakkie models is not the making of remarkable things for JMC. The not unattractively styled Vigus double-cab, which looks like a more conservative Mazda BT-50, has not convinced at all, finding only six buyers last month despite its R226 990 price point. 


Tata

You’ll see a great many trucks from Tata involved with heavy infrastructure and civil engineering work around South Africa, but never accompanied by too many of the brand’s bakkies.

Tata only sold 52 bakkies in March, and that number is a bit of a misnomer too, because only three of those were proper 207 DI Worker single-cabs, the other 49 were Super Ace flatbed compact delivery trucks, which are classed as bakkies. Tata doesn’t even bother marketing its double-cabs in South Africa anymore.

GWM 

The one Chinese brand which has endured in South Africa, GWM does a tidy trade with its Steed range of bakkies. It sold 163 of them last month and although that number is split amongst four different models, it still accounts for a fair representation – and all GWM’s vehicles are true traditional configuration bakkies, not flatbed mini-trucks.

It could be argued that the company’s line of impressive new SUVs, including offerings from the Haval sub-brand, are an indicator of true quality engineering expertise being incubated, and ultimately applied to its bakkies too, which appear to find favour with a big enough South African sample group.


Mahindra
 

By far the most successful of all alternative bakkie brands is Mahindra. In March they managed to sell a total 294 bakkies between their three models lines: Bolero, Genio and Scorpio. Although the data separation between single- and double-cabs are not available to us, the bulk of Mahindra sales (196) are attributed to its Scorpio line, which features the best of Mahindra’s bakkie product engineering and has benefitted from a recent facelift to the Pik-Up double-cab.

The logical deduction is that Mahindra is selling a fair number of those new double-cabs and proving to South Africans that there is some value in considering an alternative bakkie brand. 


Bakkie sales: March 2018



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