French to take on Toyota

2 April, 2013 | by Lance Branquinho

There is a good reason Toyota is such a dominant automotive brand in South Africa: and it has surprisingly little to do with cars.

Hilux/Fortuner outsell everything and if you are a taxi operator, well, the only thing that’s changed in the last decade is that Quantum replaced Hi-Ace.

Mass mobility and utility motoring in South Africa is unashamedly Toyota dominated – and not without justification. Toyota’s utility vehicles are robust and operator proof, crucial elements in testing South African conditions where the load case burdening bakkies and taxis make most other market standards appear timid.

It is with a touch of mirth, then, that we take notice of a French manufacturer’s intent to sell 1000 taxis a year. Yes, that’s right: Citroen believes its new range of Relay buses will supplant the all-conquering Quantum. Right…


On offer from Citroen are a range of taxis based on the Relay platform, powered by either 2.2-litre engines (good for 74kW/250Nm and 88kW/320Nm) or a 3-litre turbodiesel producing 115kW and 400Nm. The important bit, though, is carrying capacity: the 2.2s carry 15 or 16 passengers and the 3-litre HDi can move 19.

Pricing? Entry level is the 74kW 2.2 HDi 15-seater, retailing for R305 900, with the 3-litre 19-seater at R369 900. All complete with the regulation South African flag graphic along the flanks. Nice.

All told, though, is it better than Toyota’s Quantum ten or 14-seaters? Good question. Quantum Sesfikile is powered by a 75kW/250Nm D-4D engine and retails for R318k, which is similar power, but less utility for about the same money as Citroen’s Relay 2.2s.

Could the French be onto something? We’ll see.



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