It hasn’t taken long for Ford’s new global alliance with Volkswagen AG to bear fruit. After the recent announcement that the forthcoming successor to the Amarok will share much of its DNA with the popular Ranger pick-up, Ford Motor Company today confirmed it would, in turn, make use of the German brand’s more compact A0 platform to reimagine a new half-tonne pickup destined for markets in South America and, crucially, Africa.

Sold between 1983 and 2011, the original Bantam was based on the MkIII Escort and through three subsequent generations would prove a stalwart of South African small businesses and local surf-seekers alike.

With a wide variety of small capacity engine options available to the manufacturer, expect a local Bantam lineup to comprise drivetrain layouts closely mimicking those of the current Figo range, including the brand’s impressive 1,5-litre three-cylinder EcoBoost unit.  

Of course, the news of the Bantam’s imminent return (likely launching here in 2021) puts renewed pressure on the South African branch of Volkswagen to potentially hurry its imminently available (including in right-hand-drive) all-new Saveiro half-tonne offering to market. Sharing a platform with the new Bantam, the arrival of the Saveiro would complete a potentially compelling VW-branded bakkie lineup with the recently announced MQB-based Tarok also pencilled in for local consumption.

Since the deletion of the rebadged Chevrolet Utility at the end of 2017, it’s been the aging Nissan NP200 that’s enjoyed exclusive rights (consistently selling well north of 1 000 units a month) within this potentially lucrative segment. The arrival of a new Bantam, together with the 2020 introduction of the Renault Duster Oroch and a better-late-than-never Saveiro, South Africans could once again look forward to some half-tonne verstatility. Your move, Nissan…

*If you’ve not already figured it out, this was our April Fools’ Day story for 2019…

Renderings courtesy of Kleber Silva.

Original article from Car