The new-generation Isuzu D-Max ute has posted its best monthly sales result of all time in Australia – however even that has not been enough to reduce waiting times which now stretch up to six months.
Official sales figures for 2020 released today by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries show Isuzu reported 2409 examples of the D-Max ute as sold in December, which was its highest monthly result since June 2017 (when 2388 were sold). Indeed, the new Isuzu D-Max broke into the Top 10 for the last three months of the year, for the first time ever.
The strong finish to the year elevated the Isuzu D-Max to third place in the ute sales race – behind the Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger – in the last three months of 2020. However it ranked fourth for the full year, behind the Mitsubishi Triton.
Year-to-date sales took a dent (15,062 versus the 2019 tally of 16,892 vehicles, a decline of 10.8 per cent) due to interruptions to production during the peak of the coronavirus crisis earlier in the year, and the August changeover to the first all-new model in eight years.
Isuzu's 2020 tally is its first slowdown after 11 straight years of growth, since it was established as a standalone passenger vehicle brand in late 2008.
Amid unprecedented demand for the top-of-the-range Isuzu D-Max, the company has increased the price of that model by $1000 to $59,990 drive-away, but left all other models unchanged.
Isuzu Ute Australia declined to clarify waiting times, however numerous dealers have told CarAdvice the queue for a new D-Max stretches between three and six months depending on the model.
The only chance of securing a new Isuzu D-Max sooner than that is if a customer who placed an order earlier decides to pass on the deal and surrender their spot in the queue.
Some buyers are choosing to skip the queue by buying the mechanically identical Mazda BT-50; they're made on the same production line and are twins under the skin but have a unique exterior appearance. Mazda says it does not have the same supply constraints as the Isuzu D-Max.
As reported here, the Toyota HiLux has notched up its fifth outright category win in a row, while the Ford Ranger finished second in 2020, for the fourth year in a row.
The rise in popularity of utes comes as more Australians decide to holiday at home in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.
The Federal Government’s instant asset write off, and the fast-tracking of major infrastructure projects across Australia have also stimulated ute sales.