When you think bakkie, for many people one vehicle first springs to mind. It’s probably the first bakkie you saw as a child and the last bakkie you saw while on the road today. It is the Toyota Hilux.
It has long dominated the light commercial vehicle segment, and often outsells the leading passenger vehicles in South Africa. While the Ford Ranger has been snapping at its heels in recent years, the latest upgrades have kept the Toyota at the front of the pack.
Naamsa reports that in May this year, the Hilux was again in pole position, selling 3700 units. With the Ford Ranger and Isuzu D-max in a bit of a tussle for that second place with 1972 units and 1540 units respectively.
So why is the Hilux such a popular choice for everyone? There are at least three good reasons. It’s a trusted brand that’s been around for 50 years, and it’s led the market for 48 of those. Second, many Hilux owners use their vehicles for both business and leisure, all over South Africa and often into the deepest reaches of southern Africa. That’s when you value the fact there is probably a Toyota dealership in the next town. And third, bakkie owners don’t keep buying out of blind loyalty. It’s a product with many years of development behind it, and a reputation for lasting forever. Yes, the market is going to be given a shake-up in the coming months with the introduction of Nissan’s latest Navara and a new Isuzu D-Max. Will they knock the Hilux off its lofty perch? Time will tell…