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First look: Holden rounds up new Rodeo

To D-Max: New Rodeo has been launched in Thailand, where it will also be built.

Tradespeople are set to get more one-tonne choices from Holden

3 Jun 2002

HOLDEN'S stocks with the tradies is set to be boosted significantly next year by this new Rodeo and the Commodore-based one-tonne utility.

While Holden is officially saying neither vehicle is confirmed, the Rodeo you see pictured here has already been launched into the booming Thailand light-commercial market.

And the Rodeo range that's expected to come to Australia from some time in the first half of 2003 will also be built in Thailand, at Isuzu's Samptprakan plant.

What you are looking at here is a sporty turbo-diesel space cab version of Rodeo called the D-Max, which has been launched by the Thai Isuzu importer. The concept, if not the name, is being considered for Australia.

In fact, Holden's light commercial vehicle manager Alan Blazevic says the whole Rodeo range is under review as the model change looms.

No wonder, considering there are 57 different Rodeo variants sold in Australia including five body configurations, four engines, two transmissions and the choice of two and four-wheel drive. And then there's the three specification levels - DX, LT and LX.

"We're reviewing the model line-up at the moment - nothing has been signed off in terms of what that final line-up will be," Mr Blazevic said.

"All the models and all the options within the range are being looked at. It is potentially possible that all the variants and all the options will not make it through to the new model.

"But there is some other stuff we are looking at that could open up quite a few doors for us.

"Without giving too much away, there are other variants available in the vehicle we are looking at potentially bring in." Mr Blazevic said the arrival of a one-tonner Commodore, also expected in 2003, would not crowd the Rodeo's place in the market.

"The one-tonner is not a signed-off program as yet - that's something we would have to look into, what's going to differentiate those two vehicles in the marketplace," Mr Blazevic said.

"If you look at the experience (Ford) Falcon one-tonner has in cab-chassis and Courier, there's obviously a market for both vehicles." He also predicted the new Rodeo would boost sales of the range, which has been dipping steadily since its peak in 1999, although there was an upturn in 2002.

"This car has the capacity to blow the market right open - that side of the market is very, very competitive in terms of pricing and that's one issue we have to get spot-on because the car is a tool of trade."
Rodeo measure for measure
Old* New
Length5075mm 5020mm
Width1770 1800
Height1735 1730
Wheelbase3025 3050
Front track1450 1520
Rear track 1460 1525
Ground clearance 215 225
* Biggest figure used

GM, Isuzu in joint development

THE new generation Rodeo is a joint development between Isuzu and 49 per cent owner General Motors.

The partners are targetting more than 500,000 sales annually for the new vehicle.

It is crucial for Isuzu that the plan succeed because it is trying to restructure its way out of red ink, this week announcing a 43 billion yen ($US344 million) loss for its financial year ending last March.

As per the current vehicle, the Rodeo's body sits on a separate chassis, with suspension by double wishbones up-front and a leaf spring rear-end. However, steering has been swapped over from recirculating ball to power-assisted rack and pinion.

Only the 3.0-litre turbo-diesel engine was listed on the Thai spec sheets, mated to a five-speed manual or four-speed electronic auto with grade logic control. The four-wheel drive is a new push-button "touch on the fly" system with dual range.

Inside, there has been a complete re-do with a new four-spoke steering wheel, metal-look three-dial instrument pod and new centre console design.

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