News - Isuzu - D-Max
Isuzu D-Max accessories from Australia to the world
Global demand for Isuzu’s Australian-developed and made official D-Max accessories
1 Dec 2012
By HAITHAM RAZAGUI in BANGKOK
FACTORY-approved add-ons such as bull-bars, tow bars and air inlet snorkels that are designed and made in Australia for the Isuzu D-Max one-tonner are in demand around the world.
Australia’s reputation for high quality, well-designed off-road accessories has made it a centre of development for official upgrades to the rugged Thai-built workhorse, sales of which are booming globally.
Isuzu Ute Australia (IUA) deputy managing director Takeshi ‘Kasa’ Kasahara told GoAuto the company “receives many phone calls from countries like the UK, Germany and South Africa about our accessories”.
“We develop many accessories in Australia and all over the world people appreciate Aussie quality and design,” he said.
Mr Kasahara said IUA worked with respected 4x4 accessory specialists including ARB, TJM and Hayman Reese to develop its official accessories.
TJM provides a snorkel kit for the D-Max, Hayman Reese is responsible for the official tow bar and ARB supplies body protection such as bull bars.
He added that ARB is also developing a suspension upgrade to increase the ute’s gross vehicle mass rating beyond its current class-leading ability to carry a tonne in the tray while towing a three-tonne trailer.
Cosmetic items like sports bars and tonneau covers are also sourced from Australian suppliers.
Mr Kasahara said official differential lock upgrades are not planned due to the majority of global D-Max sales being in Thailand, where most customers go for the less expensive 4x2 variants and few venture off-road.
Demand for factory-backed products like Isuzu’s can only be good news for the Australian automotive aftermarket industry, which like all manufacturing, faces the challenge of a high Aussie dollar and global economic uncertainty.
Australia’s automotive aftermarket industry supports 30,000 jobs, turns over $11 billion a year and produces exports worth $800 million.
In terms of Aussie-made official products, Nissan produces official accessories at its casting plant in Dandenong, Victoria, Mazda developed an airbag-compatible bull-bar for its BT-50 in Australia and Volkswagen helped design an Australian-made tray for its Amarok cab-chassis.
Fiat-Chrysler accessory, parts and servicing brand Mopar is also open to adding Aussie products to its catalogue.
Isuzu expects to produce 400,000 D-Max utes next year, with half of those to be sold into Thailand’s insatiable one-tonner market – the largest in the world – earning it a 35 per cent market share and second place behind the Toyota HiLux (40 per cent).
The company expects up to 10,000 to end up in Australia – more than 25 per cent up on this year’s projected result of between 7700 and 7800 units – leaving around 190,000 D-Maxes to generate world-wide demand for Australian-made accessories.
A more global D-Max-based SUV due for Australian release next year, and likely to continue the MU-7 nameplate of an existing Asia-only seven-seater is likely to generate yet more demand for accessories.
Plans are also afoot to build another 200,000 D-Maxes a year in China and India, potentially expanding the accessories opportunity even further.
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