Tesla really got us rethinking the whole idea of what a pickup truck is when the company shocked the world at the Cybertruck launch event. It’s a radical shift that’s totally different from the standard pickup truck look and performance expectations that people had been accustomed to. This shock slowly evolved into acceptance, and later absolute admiration. It appears the Cybertruck has since gone on to register over half a million reservations.
Tesla describes the Cybertruck as “better utility than a truck with more performance than a sports car.” The Cybertruck is available for pre-order in several countries, including the United States, Canada, Mexico, Belgium, Denmark, Deutschland, Spain, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong, Macau, Australia, and New Zealand. South Africa is not on the list. We strongly believe it should be! Here is why:
South Africa has a strong pickup culture. Bakkies, as they are called in South Africa, consistently top the vehicle sales charts. The undisputed king of sales in South Africa is the Toyota Hilux. Hilux sales give a good indication of the appetite for pickups in relation to other markets, as it is a truck widely available in most markets around the world. Toyota Hilux sales are about half a million units annually worldwide. Last year, 40,934 units were sold in South Africa. That is roughly 8% of all Hilux sales worldwide, showing that South Africa is a significant market for pickups.
A look at one of the countries on the list where pre-orders are available, Australia, shows that South African sales deserve some attention. In 2019, the “Ute,” as pickups are called down under, had 47,759 sales, just 6,825 more than in South Africa. From the Cybertruck reservations so far, Australia has been touted as potentially having the 3rd largest market for the Cybertruck. With South Africa enjoying similar sales figures for the popular Hilux, we can be confident the same trend could apply here. In the UK, a country where one can also order the Cybertruck, the top selling pickup was the Ford Ranger, with 16,440 units sold there last year. In South Africa, 25,042 Ford Rangers were sold in 2019.
Overall, just over a million cars were sold in 2019 in Australia, 1,062,867 to be exact. In South Africa, just over 470,000 new cars were sold, with the Toyota Hilux sales making up close to 9% of this total. The table below shows just how much South Africans love pickup trucks. On the list of the top 10 automobiles, there are 3 full size pickup models, including the Ford Ranger and the Isuzu D-Max. The sales of these 3 models total 82,142, representing 17.5% of all new car new sales. For comparison, we have included annual sales for the UK as well, showing how significant a pickup market South Africa is. From a total addressable market perspective, South Africa looks like a better pickup target market than the United Kingdom
Top 10 Best Selling New Automobiles in 2019 in South Africa
So, why is the pickup segment so hot in South Africa and why is the Hilux the undisputed sales king in South Africa? Wheels24 cites 6 reasons, which include:
- Price vs. value
- Dealer support
- Trade-in value
- Parts availability
The Cybertruck has several advantages across all these aspects. On durability, that 30× cold-rolled steel is unparalleled. Nothing on the market has been designed with the so-called “exoskeleton” that Tesla says “is made for ultimate durability, passenger protection, is nearly impenetrable and designed for superior strength and endurance.”
Tesla’s current models have also been found to have impressive residual values. In terms of maintenance costs, another strong point that would tip the scale in the Cybertuck’s favour is on the total cost of ownership front. The total cost of ownership for EVs is an area CleanTechnica regularly features, showcasing how EVs are clear winners in total cost over a period of time.
So, we believe there is a strong case for Elon Musk to bring home the Cybertruck to challenge the crown! We know people could be worried about the viability of electric vehicles in South Africa right now with all the electricity rationing going on, but vehicles can be charged overnight when demand is lower and electricity is generally available from the grid. Also, the distributed solar and battery storage market is growing in South Africa, providing clean renewable energy to charge the cars.
The single-motor RWD Cybertruck starts at $39,000 (R741,337) and the Dual Motor AWD at $49,000 (R931,432), before duties and taxes. These prices would already be above the top-end Hilux 4.0 V6 Double Cab 4×4 Legend 50, which retails at R712,100 ($39,010). The majority of Hilux sales probably come from the cheaper versions, including the single-cab pickups that start at around R300,000 ($26,400). This would probably mean that the Hilux would keep the crown in the short to medium term. However, the Cybertuck’s appeal and Tesla’s strong brand will certainly attract a new type of buyer as well, one who would not normally buy a pickup. And given the Cybertruck’s look and feel — as if it is built for doomsday — the COVID-19 pandemic would probably have quite a number of people looking for just this type of vehicle.
All photos © Kyle Field, CleanTechnica
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