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Thursday / 20 June 2024
HomeFeaturesThis new Hyundai could be a replacement for the Nissan NP200

This new Hyundai could be a replacement for the Nissan NP200

Hyundai is working on a new compact bakkie that could potentially serve as a replacement for the outgoing Nissan NP200 in South Africa.

The new vehicle is reportedly based on the Creta crossover and is already in development in Brazil, according to Motor1.com.

Editor’s note: Hyundai South Africa contacted TopAuto to confirm that the Motor1 article has been debunked, and a compact bakkie is not in development at the moment.

What you need to know

The number of models in South Africa’s compact bakkie segment has dwindled over the last few years down to a single unit – the Nissan NP200 – which has reached the end of its life cycle and is now scheduled to cease production at the automaker’s Rosslyn factory at the end of this month.

The exclusivity that the NP200 has enjoyed up till means it is one of the best-selling vehicles in the country with figures in the same ballpark as larger models such as the Ford Ranger, Toyota Hilux, and Isuzu D-Max, making it all the more shocking that this sole option will soon be taken off the proverbial shelf.

The outgoing Nissan NP200

The news that Hyundai is developing a new, small light commercial vehicle (LCV) comes as a welcome surprise given how important the sector is for small businesses.

It’s worth noting that this isn’t the first time the South Korean carmaker has pitched this idea, as its Brazilian division previously revealed a concept for a pickup based on the first-generation Creta back in 2016 called the STC (Sport Truck Concept), though this never made it to the assembly line.

The company seems to have ditched this designation for the new model as its name has not yet been announced, and it’s only expected to make its debut by 2026 at the earliest.

For this reason, there’s no concrete information on the bakkie’s specifications yet, but if it is indeed based on the new Creta coming to South Africa in 2025, it is natural to assume that the two vehicles will have a lot in common, including their powertrains.

The South African Creta is anticipated to retain its 1.5-litre petrol engine with 84kW and 144Nm, which connects to either a six-speed or a CVT transmission, though it is worth noting that India is getting a turbocharged version of the same plant with 119kW, which is currently unconfirmed for our market.

2016 Hyundai bakkie concept based on the 1st-gen Creta

It’s still too soon to say whether Hyundai will decide to bring the Creta-based bakkie to South Africa, and it may be a long shot considering that we have also not received its other pickup – the Tucson-based Santa Cruz.

However, the two LCVs compete in entirely different brackets, and the compact bakkie is likely to stand a much better chance of being a hit in South Africa compared to the Santa Cruz.

As Mazda recently confirmed with the discontinuation of the BT-50, the local double-cab scene is fiercely competitive and the top three performers – the Hilux, Ranger, and D-Max – are all locally made, so it’s very difficult for imports to carve out a market share.

The compact Hyundai, on the other hand, would be competing in a space that, as of the time of writing, is all but entirely empty, making it a much more promising area for investment.

That being said, other companies are starting to make their own plans for the segment, as VW recently stated it is considering the development of a new bakkie at its Eastern Cape facility, and Fiat has hinted at the possibility of us getting the new Strada once the new generation is launched with a right-hand drive option.

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