Renault Alaskan and Fiat Fullback join a growing segment
The midsize pickup segment is getting bigger in terms of choices. Renault was the latest brand to join this growing segment with the Alaskan, its first midsize pickup made in collaboration with Nissan. The Alaskan was presented in Colombia, and will be initially available in South America only to then expand its presence in other regions including Europe. This Renault pickup will be produced in three different places that will cover different regions. Mexican production will supply domestic, Central American and Colombian demand, along with some markets in South East Asia. Argentinian factory will be in charge of MERCOSUR markets, while the Spanish plant of Barcelona will supply Europe and the Middle East.
The Alaskan followed the Fiat Fullback, which is another midsize pickup born as a result of the collaboration between FCA and Mitsubishi. While the Alaskan is based on the Nissan NP300 (aka Navara), the Fullback is the twin brother of the Mitsubishi L200 (aka Triton). Both pickups are intended to grab a piece of a segment that is showing signs of strong growth during the last months. Midsize pickups global demand grew by 8% during the first five months of this year to 765,000 units. South East Asia and Oceania continue to be the largest market on earth with 247,200 units, up by 6%. Thailand plays an important role with 17% of global sales staying there, and only surpassed by USA.
The first five months growth was further better in North America and China-Taiwan, both with double-digit gains. Volume totaled 220,900 units in USA, Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico, up by 19%. The demand in China-Taiwan jumped by 20% helped by increasing sales of Chinese brands and Isuzu. South American bad momentum affected the pickup sales with volume down by 10% as a consequence of mixed results coming from Brazil (-29%) and Argentina (+22%). In fact Argentina’s total (35,700 units) got very close to Brazil’s at 37,800 units. European figures grew by 12% with the UK keeping its first position, up by 10% and followed by Germany, France, Turkey and Sweden, all posting double-digit growths.
What are the chances for these new-borns? Neither Fiat nor Renault are known for building big trucks. This is for sure their biggest challenge as the market is strongly concentrated in very few brands, mostly Japanese. However they could benefit from a recent shift in this segment: consumers are starting to consider pickups not only for work reasons but also for fun, and this is why many of the alternatives available in the market are now looking more stylish and featuring better interiors. And this could be the opportunity for the Alaskan and Fullback.