Daihatusu, so far known in South Africa only for its small SUV's and cars, has ventured into light commercial territory for the first time with its Gran Max bakkie.
This dropside delivery-style mini truck brings a Japanese flavour to a segment dominated by slightly larger Korean machinery and the similarly styled Chinese contingent which will be the newcomer's most likely competition.
The Gran Max, however, outdoes rivals such as the Chana Star in nearly every category, including load box dimensions, payload and build quality - which is far superior.
The new Daihatsu - badged as a Toyota in other parts of the world - looks much tidier than its rough-around-the-edges competitor but, even with straighter edges and much sturdier materials, is still strictly a workhorse with bench seats and a features list as sparse as fruit farms in the Gobi desert.
Standard are anti-lock brakes and creature comforts such as a steering wheel and gear lever but its real credentials for its role as a runner for SA's small businesses are in its load-hauling abilities.