Requiring US$55m and three years to develop, the new Hoggar compact pickup is one of the key models with which Peugeot Brazil plans to increase its share in the car and light commercial market here from 2.7% last year to 3.5% in 2010.

The automaker has targeted 1,500 sales monthly and expects to take 10% of the hotly contested compact car-derived pickup segment. Exports to neighbouring Latin American countries are due to start in 2011, though volume will be low.

The Hoggar (named after a mountain range in the Sahara Desert in Algeria) was designed in Brazil on a hybrid platform: the front section and cabin are from the Brazilian-built 207 (206+ in Europe) and the rear section is from the Partner van. This clever dip into the PSA corporate parts bin has produced a little truck with plenty of cabin room and a 1,634lb, 40.6 cu ft  payload toting ability – better than its four direct competitors.

The pickup, produced only with a single, two-seat cab, has interesting details such as side steps, a smartly-designed roof rack with cross members, a segment-exclusive power sunroof option and a wide range of OEM accessories. The suspension setting is firm but not excessively so.

Three versions are offered: X-Line and XR, both with a one-litre, 79/81bhp flexible-fuel engine, and the ‘adventurer’s’ Escapade with a 1.6-litre 108/111bhp motor. The range retails from R$31,400 ($18,000) to R$43,500 ($25,000).

The French automaker has built car-derived pickups in Europe since the late 1930s, starting with a derivative of its 202 model. The later 203, 403, 404 and 504 were also all offered with a pickup body; the latter three proving very popular in, and still a common sight on, African roads.

The 504 truck was made in Argentina between 1983 and 1997 and exported to Brazil with a 2,866lb payload. The final 504 pickup was built in China only last year.

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