Features
2 Jun 21

Compact pickups, filling the gap in the Latam market

Latin America is a vast region of which many of its precarious roads call for pickup trucks, but recent sales figures and production plans in the region are pointing toward the trend of smaller compact models (seen as mid-sized for Latam) which are usually not available in larger markets such as the United States.  

For more information on the state of the fleet market in Latin America and other fleet and mobility topics in the region, visit the Latin America regional stream of the Global Fleet Conference 2021. 

Some of the mid-sized pickups (seen as large for Latam) which have done well in the region include Toyota Hilux, Mitsubishi L200, Ford Ranger, Nissan NP300 (Frontier), Chevrolet S10 and Chevrolet D-Max models, but note that these vehicles have become bigger, and their prices have increased with the passage of time. 

As such, there has been a gap in offerings, and this is what is being filled today. While small pickups of the past lacked style and performance, the newer ones today offer comfort, convenience and fuel economy, in addition to style.  

They have a cargo bed large enough to transport construction materials or other goods for your next home or office remodel or restaurant grand opening and, if you are not a family of NBA players, they can even seat four people comfortably. 
 

Unlike older pickups, these newer models serve a specific need in the fleet industry, and that is a mix between the transport of cargo and people, according to Felipe Marinheiro (pictured right) who is a Fleet Specialist for Servier Pharmaceuticals in Latin America.

"While models in the past were more focused on the transport of cargo, automakers understand nowadays that seating comfort is also sought after by their clients," Mr. Marinheiro told Fleet LatAm (Latin America arm of Global Fleet).   

Some would say that they are less robust and have utilitarian limitations which is true, but they have a lower sticker-price and their compact design makes them easy to maneuver in urban areas and facilitates parking to a great degree.  

In the end, compact pickups could be a cost-effective alternative for technicians, salespeople or other fleet drivers depending on the needs of your company. 
 
"I do agree that their smaller size makes them more convenient to get into tight spots but keep in mind that many roads in Latin America are not so easy to drive on, so larger pickups set higher on the road are more ideal in these cases," Latin America fleet management specialist Wilson Ricardo Belekevicius told Fleet LatAm. (pictured left)

 


Compact pickups (mid-sized for Latam) 

Fiat recently started producing its newly designed Toro pickup, now part of the Stellantis automotive group, and deliveries for the 2022 model just kicked off in Brazil on May 15.  

While it is known as the Toro in Brazil and Argentina, it will use the RAM 1000 name in countries where Chrysler has been better positioned (Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama and Peru).  

2022 Fiat Toro (copyright: Fiat)

Boasting 53,972 units sold for the light commercial vehicle (LCV) market in Latin America’s largest market last year (Brazil), it only fell behind Fiat Strada sales, an even smaller subcompact pickup which reported 67,160 units leaving Brazilian showrooms in 2020.  

Among the compact models from other OEMs currently being updated or launched to go head-to-head with the Toro are Ford Maverick, Renault Oroch, Volkswagen Tarok, Hyundai Santa Cruz, and next year's updated larger Chevrolet Montana (nameplate yet to be confirmed).  


2022 Renault Oroch (copyright: Renault)

 

Subcompact pickups (compact for Latam) 
 
Meanwhile, among the smaller pickups in the region to compete with the aforementioned Fiat Strada (Ram 700 outside Brazil and Argentina) are Ford Courier, and Volkswagen Saveiro.  

Compact pickups to look out for 

Brand 

Subcompact 

Compact 

Mid-sized 

Fiat  

Strada 

Toro 

 

Chrysler 

Ram 700 

Ram 1000 

 

Chevrolet  

Montana (old) 

Montana (new) 

S10 (standard); D-Max  

Ford  

Courier 

Maverick 

Ranger 

Volkswagen 

Saveiro 

Tarok 

Amarok  

Renault  

 

Oroch 

 

Hyundai 

 

Santa Cruz 

 

Toyota 

 

 

Hilux 

Nissan 

 

 

NP300 (Frontier) 

Mitsubishi 

 

 

L200 


According to Juan Manuel Barros who heads fleet procurement in South America for agro-industrial company Adecoagro, Latin America's smaller pickup segment is interesting as it has only been explored in more detail recently.   

Today, a Fiat Toro is the size of the older Toyota Hilux which has now gone on to be bigger and more expensive. Up until recently, there has been a gap between larger models [Hilux, Ranger, S10] and smaller models [Strada, Saveiro], the executive said (pictured right).  
 
"In comparison to the Hilux, the mix of comfort and practicality we found with the Fiat Toro as well as the Renault Oroch is pretty good. Toyota, however, does offer good aftersales service," Mr. Barros told Fleet LatAm. 
 
For information on the profile of pickups in the region, stay tuned for our Case Study with Adecoagro, to be published in the coming weeks. 

Authored by: Daniel Bland