The Ford Motor Company (FMC) is continuing to look at developing a new half-ton bakkie for the South African market, as well as other emerging markets across the globe, says FMC group VP and Asia Pacific president Dave Schoch. These markets include some Asian as well as South American markets, he adds.
Half-ton bakkies are currently, generally, only sold in South America and South Africa. Adding Asian markets to the mix will expand the reach of any half-ton platform, especially if Ford is considering working from a single global platform for such a vehicle, providing economies of scale.
Schoch says Ford is keeping the potential of a Bantam half-ton replacement alive, as the US manufacturer’s customer base continues to develop, demanding “more entrepreneurial” type of vehicles.
“There is more of a need for this product. We continue to study [the half-ton bakkie], to see what can be done on a global basis,” says Schoch.
Bantam half-ton bakkie sales once made up 25% to 30% of Ford’s sales in South Africa, says Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa president and CEO Jeff Nemeth.
Pretoria production of the 28-year-old Ford Bantam, based on the Fiesta passenger car platform, ended in 2011.
Nemeth says Ford has, since 2011, managed to replace and add to the volumes lost by the discontinuation of the Bantam, through the introduction of vehicles such as the new Ranger one-ton bakkie, as well as the new Fiesta.
Half-ton bakkies remain popular vehicles in South Africa. The only two contenders currently on the market are the Nissan NP200, which was South Africa’s fifth most popular vehicle sold in July, at 1 663 units, followed by the Chevrolet Utility, at sixth spot, with sales of 1 587 units.