The new Isuzu D-Max ute is on track to arrive in Australian showrooms in July as expected – despite a three-week factory shutdown during the global coronavirus crisis.
Isuzu Ute Australia issued a statement today advising that the Thailand factory that manufactures the new generation Isuzu D-Max ute has restarted production as of this week, after being shuttered since the 13th of April. A separate Isuzu truck factory in Thailand is due to restart production on the 18th of May.
A spokesman for Isuzu Ute Australia declined to say whether the three-week pause in production would affect the local arrival timing of the new Isuzu D-Max.
However, Isuzu Ute dealer sources have told CarAdvice they have not been advised of any delays and were still expecting their first batch of cars to arrive in July.
The new generation Isuzu D-Max is the first ground-up redesign in eight years.
The new model will catapult the Isuzu D-Max from being one of the oldest vehicles in the ute segment to one of the newest.
The Mazda BT-50 version of the new Isuzu D-Max is expected to follow either late this year or early next year.
CarAdvice believes the Mazda BT-50 version of the new Isuzu D-Max ute will be mechanically identical but have a unique body.
As CarAdvice reported last month, the 48-year partnership with Mazda and Ford compact pick-ups will come to an end late this year or early next, after Mazda successfully negotiated to bow out of the long-standing deal before the current generation BT-50 was due to reach the end of the line – and the company switches to an Isuzu-sourced pick-up.
Isuzu Ute Australia is yet to announce the price or specifications of the new D-Max, however based on information out of Thailand it is expected both utes will be powered by an updated version of Isuzu’s trusty 3.0-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel paired to either a six-speed manual or six-speed auto.
For the Isuzu that means an increase in output from 130kW/430Nm to 140kW/450Nm, however for the Mazda BT-50 that means a step backwards from the current 147kW/470Nm output of the Ford-sourced 3.2-litre five-cylinder, to 140kW/450Nm.
Here is a link to our original story covering the new generation Isuzu D-Max in more detail.
In the meantime, Isuzu Ute Australia is working overtime to clear remaining stocks of the runout Isuzu D-Max model range, with sharper deals than normal leading up to the end of the financial year.
Isuzu has also followed in the tyre tracks of numerous other car companies by announcing the rollout of online sales, quotes and enquiries, home-delivered test drives, and free pick-up and delivery of vehicles for routine servicing during the COVID-19 lockdowns in a new “we are open” campaign.
“Under the current situation we understand that the safest place is at home. But for a lot of us we need to keep moving – so if you are looking to buy a new D-Max or MU-X or service an existing one, (our dealers) are committed to help in any way they can,” Isuzu Ute Australia Managing Director, Hiroyasu Sato, said in a media statement.
Mr Sato also thanked employees on the Thailand production lines for their support during the COVID-19 factory shutdowns.