The Pickup segment is divided into 3 different levels according to the size: the small ones (B), mid-size (C) and large pickups (D). Though they may not be really popular in some markets (Europe, Japan), the truth is that they are an important player in world’s second largest market and their position in developing countries is not bad at all. There are 3 different types of pickups depending on their size. The smaller ones, called the ‘B-Pickup’ segment is composed by urban passenger cars’ derivates. Most of the offer in this segment come from the adaptation of regular ‘B’ segments cars into more utility vehicles that result really useful when cargo room is needed. They are more popular in developing countries as they are not that expensive and solve the problems of many new companies looking to expand their business. This category of pickups was created in Brazil and it remained there. Other markets prefer larger pickups. Last year more than 300.000 units were sold in the whole world: Brazil counted for 82% of them with 250.000 units, followed by South Africa with more than 40.000 small pickups. The third market, due to the fact that there is no data for other African markets (where this kind of car should be very popular), is Argentina, where 15.000 units were sold. Contrary to that trend, the developed world is not really attracted by small pickups. Actually only Fiat offers its Strada model imported from Brazil with marginal results. In America, the land of big trucks, consumers look only for large pickups and China prefers LCV.
Fiat could be considered one of the leaders of the segment. They developed the Strada based on Palio/Siena platform some years ago and since then it has become Brazil’s best-selling small pickup. The success crossed the border and Argentina became its second largest market. In 2011 Fiat sold more than 126.000 units: 119 thousand in Brazil and 7 thousand in Argentina. It was the absolute leader of the category above its eternal competitor, the VW Saveiro and Chevrolet Montana. However the future of the segment is not clear. These cars seem to be only popular in Brazil and developing a product for only one market could be worthless. Argentinian sales plunged and Brazilian ones rise. Since its introduction more than a decade ago, the Strada has received some facelifts but it is the same old generation. Despite it is an old model, Brazilians continue to buy it and it is among top 10 best-selling cars over there. That’s why Fiat should think twice and decide soon what to do with it: to launch a second generation or stop building it. I think they should continue the success with an all-new model bigger and close to a ‘C-Pickup’ in terms of capacity and look. They could catch some market share in other markets. But they should do it as soon as possible, before current Strada begins to fall in the list.