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Isuzu Ute keeps trucking

Go anywhere: Isuzu Ute's D-Max-based MU-X outsold a number of rivals in 2014, including the mechanically related Holden Colorado 7.

MU-X lifts Isuzu Ute Australia, with dealer expansion set to continue in 2015

19 Jan 2015

ISUZU Ute Australia (IUA) looks set to follow up its strong sales performance of 2014 with a further expansion of its burgeoning dealer network as well as ongoing growth from its two-model line-up in 2015.

The Japanese light-commercial and SUV specialist had a bumper 2014, with sales jumping by a massive 63.3 per cent from 10,209 in 2013 to 16,674 last year, making it the 17th best-selling brand for the year and placing it just behind Suzuki, which shifted 17,422 units.

Apart from low-volume, high-end niche car-maker's such as Maserati and Rolls-Royce, Isuzu Ute's percentage growth in 2014 was higher than any other brand, with Fiat coming in behind the four-wheel drive builder with a 49.4 per cent boost last year.

By volume, the Japanese manufacturer’s increase of 6465 units over the 2013 result was beaten by only one other brand, with Jeep adding an extra 8238 sales to its tally when compared with 2013.

The 2014 total met the company's mid-year prediction of “well above” 15,000 sales for the year.

Isuzu Ute's sales growth was a direct result of the introduction of the MU-X seven-seat off-roader that lobbed in local showrooms in December 2013, with 4625 examples of the rugged family hauler finding homes last year.

The MU-X outsold Holden's mechanically related Colorado 7 by more than three-to-one in 2014, with 1508 Lion-badged SUVs shifted in the same period.

Other high-riding wagons in the sub-$70,000 large SUV segment that the MU-X beat last year include the Mazda CX-9 (3344), Kia Sorento (2608), the Mitsubishi Challenger (1739, Fiat's Freemont (1560), the Dodge Journey (1547) and Subaru's recently replaced Outback (2457).

IUA's other model, the D-Max ute, went on sale in July 2012 and has steadily been building momentum since, with fleet and private buyers opting for the Thai-built workhorse over a number of its competitors.

A five-star ANCAP crash safety rating on 4x4 crew cab variants has no doubt boosted the appeal of the D-Max to mining operators, helping push its 2014 sales to 12,049 units, easily outstripping last year's haul of 10,089, and almost doubling the 2012 tally of 7782.

In December, the D-Max even managed to outsell a number of its LCV rivals, as well as some popular SUVs and passenger cars with a combined haul of 1775 units, edging out the Toyota RAV4 to sit in ninth spot for the month.

The growth in 2014 was also spurred on by an expansion of the local dealer network, with 17 new sites opening up last year to bring the network to 101.

This is a massive jump from the 39 dealers it counted in 2008.

Isuzu Ute Australia dealer development project manager Brad Martin said the network expansion gives more servicing options to existing customers, and added that the growth is likely to continue next year.

“This dealer network growth in 2014 has assisted IUA to deliver an enhanced brand and facility experience for our customer base and continues IUA’s pursuit of delivering on customer expectations and providing increased service options to our now 50,000 customers,” he said.

“In 2015, our network development activities will continue to focus on improving the quality, location and growth of the IUA dealer network to exceed both the expectations of our customers, and provide the foundation for continued sales growth.”

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