December 2017

Beige.

As colours go, that’s about as nondescript as it gets. Lacking the vibrancy of white, or the
bravery of brown, beige is just, well … beige.

It was also the colour of my dad’s Ford Cortina single-cab bakkie, purchased in the late 1970s for reasons that, at the time, were an utter mystery to the family. He was not a farmer he owned a sports shop and none of his endeavours required the use of a load bay. In fact,
the only thing I remember being loaded on the back was us kids. Of late, however, I’ve realised we never quite gave him the kudos he deserved. Turns out Smith The Elder was an early adopter. Long, long, looong before bakkies became South Africa’s most popular lifestyle vehicle, the head of our suburban clan had bought one asthe family transport. Sure, it was a single cab (double cabs were notyet available here) and it was beige, but give credit where credit is due; the man was a visionary.

These days, of course, bakkies are the single most popular model type in our market, with double cabs becoming increasingly luxurious and tech-laden. And it’s not just here, either; last year, 2,2 million units were sold worldwide. By 2026, the market is expected to have grown
by 43% to 3,2 million. That statistic, if you had any doubt, is why you see two double cabs dominating our cover this month. The fact that Mercedes-Benz has entered the fray is signi cant and I’m willing to bet it won’t be too long before we see Audi doing something similar with a blingedup version of the VW Amarok. On page 38, you can read our muchanticipated
 rst drive of the X-Class by our deputy editor, Terence Steenkamp, back from the vehicle’s international launch in Chile.

Ford, too, is pushing the category in a new direction with that performance-focused Raptor that will have its SA launch in 2019 (see page 22), and even Elon Musk is planning to add one to his innovative Tesla EV line-up in the next couple of years. Nice one, Elon, but Smith The Elder was way ahead of you.

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