SA’s cheapest bakkie loading: DFSK load lugger set to cost around R180,000

The DFSK K01S is set to become the country’s least expensive bakkie. Picture: Jason Woosey

The DFSK K01S is set to become the country’s least expensive bakkie. Picture: Jason Woosey

Published May 15, 2024


South Africans love bakkies, almost as much as they love complaining about how expensive they’ve become. And that’s with good reason, of course.

The recent discontinuation of Nissan’s NP200 hasn’t helped matters for those seeking an inexpensive workhorse, although Suzuki’s Super Carry has kept the flame burning for those on a budget.

And soon there will be a Chinese presence at the bottom end of the market again with the reintroduction of the DFSK brand locally.

It’s set to be imported by WilGin Holdings, which recently took over the parts and servicing responsibilities of the JMC brand after it pulled out of SA.

The importer will initially offer two products in South Africa, with the K01S compact bakkie and the larger C35 panel van set to arrive in about two to three months from now.

The DFSK K01S bakkie and C53 panel van are the first two products heading to SA. Picture: Jason Woosey

WilGin is aiming to sell the bakkie for under R180,000 in South Africa and the panel van for about R210,000. But this comes with a caveat as these “indicative” prices could still change between now and launch due to the fluctuating exchange rate.

If they manage to bring the K01S in at the aforementioned price, it will be the cheapest bakkie in SA, given that Suzuki’s Super Carry currently retails for R182,900.

Although in no way comparable to the car-based Nissan NP200, DFSK’s K01S is similar in concept to to the Super Carry in that it’s a body-on-frame cab-over vehicle. But with an overall length of 4.43, metres, the new Chinese contender is a good 600mm longer than its closest rival and also beats its load carrying capacity by 150kg, with DFSK claiming a payload of 900kg.

The baby bakkie is powered by a 1.2-litre normally aspirated petrol engine that produces 61kW and 112Nm.

But along with the honour of being Mzansi’s least expensive bakkie, the K01S does unfortunately lack essential safety features such as airbags and ABS brakes. These could become available as options in the future, but nothing in that regard is confirmed as yet.

The K01S is a pure workhorse inside and out. Picture: Jason Woosey

At this price, of course, you’re not going to get anything in the way of comfort features, which is understandable.

The C35 panel van is a somewhat larger vehicle, boasting a payload of 1.9 tonnes and sporting a 1.5-litre petrol engine that produces 85kW and 148Nm.

In terms of dealer back-up, WilGin Holdings has so far appointed 18 multi-franchise dealerships, but the firm is aiming to push that number past the 30 mark by the time the vehicles go on sale.

An expanded product portfolio is also on the cards, although the company remains tight-lipped on those details.

The DFSK vehicles will be sold with a one-year warranty backed by the Automobile Association (AA), but no service plan is included. The importer is promising that services will be surprisingly affordable, however, with a routine oil change service reportedly costing less than R1,000.

IOL Motoring