New Strada bakkie is in the works.
Fiat might challenge Nissan for small bakkie supremacy next year.
Despite the pressure of having to integrate a massive corporate merger with PSA, Fiat has revealed that it is working on a new version of its Strada.
The Italian compact bakkie was sold in South Africa during its previous generation and proved a popular choice.
An official rendering of the new Strada was revealed by Fiat and the company has spoken of a 2021 dateline for delivering its next-generation bakkie to market.
What is significantly different for this Strada, compared to the last one South Africans will be familiar with, is its cab-configuration. The new Strada is a double-cab, which should position it as a very unique offering. Fiat is also expected to offer single- and cab-and-half versions.
The idea of a compact double-cab bakkie, as an alternative to a similarly sized SUV, would be compelling for markets where users desire the practicality of an open loadbin, but also need to seat four passengers in comfort.
Fiat already markets a double-cab bakkie in South America, called the Toro, which was launched late last year and rides on a Jeep Renegade/Fiat 500X platform. Positioning for this new Strada will be below the Toro, on Fiat’s new Argo platform, which would be equivalent in class to the Palio platform previously used for Strada.
In terms of powertrain, Fiat has some potent small capacity petrol engines to deploy in this bakkie. The company’s 1.3-litre naturally aspirated engine is a likely candidate, producing 73 kW. A turbocharged version of this engine could broaden the powertrain options, with Fiat’s MultiAir producing 88 kW.
Fiat has confirmed that the new Strada will officially debut in November, at the Sao Paulo auto show. Although Fiat’s current merger and restructuring dynamics mean that many markets are undergoing revision of their product portfolios and viability, a new Strada would do very well in South Africa.
It would also enliven the compact bakkie market, where Nissan’s NP200 sells strongly, without any competition.