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Isuzu on the double

Max sales: Isuzu Ute Australia is on target to double its sales this year, despite stock shortages caused by the Thai floods.

New D-Max ute will help achieve ambitious target of doubling sales, says Isuzu boss

25 Jun 2012

ISUZU is on track to doubling its sales in about three years, having doubled them already over the past two years.

Isuzu Ute Australia managing director Yasuhiro ‘Yasu’ Takeuchi made the bold prediction he would double sales when he arrived here in August last year.

With the launch of the new D-Max ute – the only model the company sells in Australia – sales are expected to reach 8000 this calendar year, an increase of 25 per cent, despite an interrupted start to the year due to stock shortages as a result of the Thai floods.

In addition to the new-generation D-Max, IUA can also look forward to the likely local launch of an SUV wagon version of that vehicle, although the company has given no indication of when the seven-seater might make it to Australia.

Mr Takeuchi, who last year said he hoped to eventually sell up to 20,000 units a year, said last week that Isuzu was well on its way to meeting his prediction of doubling sales, which in the 2011-12 Japanese financial year (ending March 31, 2012) totalled 6464 units.

“When I was appointed I said we would double sales,” he said at the launch of the all-new D-Max ute last week.

“It was an ambitious target, but we are very sure the target will be achieved very soon.”

Last month, IUA set a single-month record of 727 sales, up 16.5 per cent on the same month last year.

 center imageLeft: Isuzu Ute Australia managing director Yasuhiro ‘Yasu’ Takeuchi.

After starting its local operation in Brisbane with only two people in October 2008 after the breakdown of the previous GM-Isuzu partnership, Isuzu Ute Australia has now expanded to 38 staff and has ambitions of further growth – on both the employee and sales counts.

Sales rose from 3566 in the first full calendar year of operations (2009) to 5114 in 2010 for a 4.1 per cent share of the one-tonne ute market.

Last year, Isuzu sold 6397 D-Max utes for a 5.1 per cent share of the light commercial ute segment and will this year retail 8000, which will account for about a 5.8 per cent share.

Looking further ahead, IUA general manager of sales and dealer operations Paul Vuko said he anticipated sales of 10,000 utes in 2013 – which he estimated would represent a 7.3 per cent share – and 11,200 in 2014 for an 8.2 per cent share.

Mr Vuko said the D-Max was gaining market share at the expense of the closely related Holden Colorado and the iconic Toyota HiLux, more than 36,000 of which were sold last year to comfortably dominate the segment.

He told GoAuto that Isuzu was making considerable inroads into the booming mining sector at the expense of HiLux due to concerted effort within IUA to work closely with mining companies to ensure their specific needs were met in terms of product, dealer support and servicing.

To assist the expected increase in sales, IUA plans to also expand its national dealer network, which has already grown from 39 outlets in 2008 to 81 with the opening this week of Rockingham Isuzu south of Perth.

Only 15 of its dealers are also Isuzu Truck dealers, with all but one of the rest being multi-franchise car dealerships.

IUA also has 17 satellite outlets to cover servicing requirements in remote locations.

Mr Vuko said the expansion of the dealer network would continue over the next couple of years and settle at a maximum of 100.

He told us that the major metropolitan areas were covered, so the new dealerships would mostly be located in regional areas.

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