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Isuzu lifts ute sales and dealer numbers

New dawn: Isuzu has enjoyed steady sales growth for its D-Max ute since going it alone in Australia.

Newest ute brand, Isuzu, increases sales, dealer numbers in its first six months

Isuzu logo6 Apr 2009

By MARTON PETTENDY

ISUZU Ute Australia (IUA) has significantly expanded the reach of its national retail network, which now comprises 61 dealers – up from the 38 with which it launched the Isuzu D-Max utility in early October 2008.

Not surprisingly, the all-diesel D-Max one-tonne ute and cab-chassis range, which is mechanically identical to Holden’s Colorado, has proved more popular every month in its first six months on sale.

IUA sold 248 D-Max utes in March, representing a 47 per cent increase over February figures. The company sold 576 D-Maxes (including 233 4x2s and 343 4x4s) in the first three months of 2009, when the Australian automotive market was down by 19.2 per cent.

However, IUA is well down on its launch plan to sell 4000 D-Max utes in its first year on sale, and will face stiff new competition from Great Wall Motors, which will release Australia’s first Chinese-branded vehicles in the form of two new dual-cab petrol utilities in June.

As we reported last week, Great Wall ute prices will start from $16,990 for ABN holders, dramatically undercutting the most inexpensive dual-cab (and single-cab) utes currently available in Australia, including SsangYong’s diesel Sports Dual Cab Tradie ($24,990) and Mahindra’s diesel Pik-Up (from $23,990).

Great Wall importer Ateco Automotive has forecast a total of 300 monthly sales for its two petrol dual-cabs. Isuzu’s least expensive D-Max is the 4x2 diesel single-cab/chassis at $24,600. Like Mahindra, which entered the Australian market in June 2007, Isuzu could also eventually release a full-chassis SUV here.

10 center imageTop: Isuzu D-Max. Below: Great Wall Wingle.

Managing director Hitoshi Kono said IUA’s D-Max has proved popular despite the downward trend of all vehicle sales in Australia since its launch, because of the strength of the Isuzu brand, the D-Max’s solid reputation globally and IUA’s expanded dealer group.

“Given that economic conditions had started to cool somewhat at about the time of our launch, the Isuzu D-Max has been well received with sales rising steadily each month since October and topping out at 248 in March,” he said.

“The most popular models have been the high-spec crew-cab utes, both the 4x4 LSU and its near-identical 4x2 LS stablemate. Both are well equipped with cruise control, premium audio, alloy wheels, side steps, projector headlights and high-ride suspension.

“Prospective new dealers were keen to sign into the Isuzu Ute network because they already had great respect for the reputation of the Isuzu brand in the truck world.

“Somewhat symbolically, our 61st dealer signing was in Alice Springs, plugging the centre of the continent now well serviced in all states and territories,” said Mr Kono, who added that the D-Max continued to offer a class-leading cab-to-axle length in cab/chassis guise, plus a 3.0-litre common-rail variable-vane turbo-diesel that returns as little as 7.9L/100km in single-cab 4x2 form.

Read more:

Sydney show: Isuzu D-Max debuts in Australia


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