Johannesburg - Africa’s new car company Mureza announced this week that it will kick off its operations with a budget crossover hatchback that’s curiously named Prim8 (and pronounced Primate) but the company has bigger plans than that in the long run, with two bakkies in the works - a half-tonner to compete with the Nissan NP200 and a Cummins-powered one-tonne range that will be marketed under the Tusker name.
The half-tonne bakkie, if executed correctly, will be a godsend for South African buyers, who currently only have a single option following the disappearance of the Chevrolet Ute and Ford Bantam.
Mureza says that the half-tonner will be based on the same platform as the Prim8 hatchback (pictured below), which will also spawn a sedan and compact SUV.
This vehicle's platform and parts will be supplied by the SAIPA Group, and as yet it’s unclear how much local modification will take place, although we do know that in the longer term Mureza wants to be more autonomous in terms of vehicle design.
The Iranian partner company currently offers a compact pick-up called the Saipa 151 (pictured below), but the half-tonner that we eventually get will likely be based on the vehicle that replaces this, as the 151 is based on an older-generation platform called X4, while Mureza says our bakkie will be built around the Prim8's X100 platform.
It’s probably safe to assume that the half-tonner will use the same 1.5-litre normally aspirated petrol engine that powers the Prim8, which produces 87kW, and which can be mated to either a five-speed manual or CVT transmission.
The other exciting bakkie news is the plan to build a one-tonne range under the Tusker name, although it’s not yet clear where the platform will come from, or whether it will be a local development.