South Africa recently held its inaugural Bakkie of the Year competition, which aimed to determine the best pickup truck in the country. However, the award has sparked controversy and debate among automotive enthusiasts and industry experts.
- The competition featured seven participating manufacturers, including GWM, Isuzu, Mahindra, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Peugeot, and VW. Notably absent were Ford, JAC, Mazda, and Toyota, with each brand citing different reasons for their non-participation.
- The winners were announced in three power categories: 100-120kW, 121-150kW, and 151-190kW. The overall winner was declared as the VW Amarok PanAmericana 3.0 V6 TDI 4Motion, praised for its performance, ride comfort, and high-quality interior.
- One of the notable contenders, the Mahindra Pik Up 2.2 S11 Karoo Storm, emerged as the cost-of-ownership category winner, surpassing its rivals in terms of affordability.
- Critics argue that the exclusion of popular brands like Ford and Toyota, which have a significant market share, raises questions about the competition’s credibility and represents a missed opportunity to evaluate all major players in the bakkie segment.
- Some enthusiasts have expressed disappointment with the evaluation criteria, claiming that off-road performance should have been given more weightage. They argue that South African pickup trucks are often used in challenging terrains and that this aspect should have been a primary consideration.
- The absence of certain models and discrepancies in the selection process have led to discussions about the transparency and impartiality of the competition, highlighting the need for clearer guidelines and a more inclusive approach in future editions.