A fresh report out of the United States suggests that Ford is hard at work developing a new small unibody bakkie, which if eventually offered in South Africa would serve as a long-awaited replacement for the half-tonne Bantam.
According to Automobile Magazine, the Blue Oval brand plans to introduce the new model by 2022, slotting it in below the Ranger.
The publication’s sources suggest that the new unibody pick-up truck will be built on the latest Focus platform, and serve to replace the Brazilian-built (and Fiesta-based) Courier. The latter, of course, was related to the Bantam bakkie offered locally, although its load-box and door design differed.
Interestingly, the report speculates that the new bakkie will be slightly larger than the Courier (and thus also the Bantam), but smaller than the ladder-frame Ranger. Automobile Magazine believes that the pick-up will be built at the brand’s Cuautitlan plant in Mexico, where a Focus-based crossover is also expected to be produced.
The Ford Bantam launched in South Africa back in 1983 and went out of production at the end of 2011. It was also offered as a Mazda wearing the Rustler badge. With the likes of the Fiat Strada and Chevrolet Utility also having left local shores, the only player currently offered in South Africa's half-tonne bakkie segment is the Nissan NP200.