Chinese Bakkies Gain African Foothold
The South African term [of endearment] for a pickup truck is a "bakkie." Right. So. While the world waits and wonders about the potential impact of a flood of Chinese-made cars on the international auto scene, iAfrica reports that cheap Chinese pickups are pouring into the South African market, driving down prices of two to three-year-old Japanese bakkies. While owner-drivers are still opting for "quality," the fleet market is one with the Chinese pickups' "cheap as chips" appeal. Brand Pretorius, chairman of McCarthy Motor Holdings, says he's not worried that Chinese cars will have a similar effect on the passenger vehicle market. With freight costs and a 30 percent import tariff, Chinese automakers fight an uphill battle against locally made product with export credits (e.g. the Chevrolet Spark). "It will be tough for Chinese manufacturers to undercut the current entry-level small cars by a significant margin, so the impact won't be as severe."