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Back Vehicle News Isuzu D-MAX Record Sales Cap Good First Year
07 Oct 2009

D-MAX Record Sales Cap Good First Year

Record D-MAX sales of 339 in September have capped off a successful first year in Australia for Isuzu UTE’s premium one-tonne ute and cab chassis range.

Established early last year, factory distributor Isuzu UTE Australia (IUA) has increased retail sales of its well-reputed D-MAX range nearly every month in its first 12 months of operation, delivering 2,434 units since launch last October. Calender year-to-date sales of 2,161 are running close to target despite GFC-affected market conditions. Private and small business buyers dominate D-MAX sales at around 65 per cent, the reverse of the segment’s fleet-oriented norm.

Queensland is Ute Central for D-MAX with 27 per cent followed closely by NSW on 25.5 and Victoria on 22 per cent respectively.

The most popular D-MAX models have been the high-spec crew cab utes, both the 4x4 LS-U and its near-identical 4x2 LS stablemate, both well equipped with cruise control, premium audio, body-colour front bumper and wheel arch flares, chrome rear step bumper, alloy wheels, side steps, projector headlights, electric fold in/out door mirrors, lockable tailgate and high-ride suspension.

Dealer appointments to the national Isuzu UTE network have swelled to 62 from 38 at launch, with another seven ASOs (authorized satellite outlets) operational and more planned. IUA’s strategy of facilitating satellite operations rather than appointing new dealers leverages the unusually large territories it has allocated to its dealers, to foster extra commitment to the brand.

Isuzu UTE Australia managing director Hitoshi Kono said: “IUA launched D-MAX at close to the worst time possible given the GFC but D-MAX has succeeded thanks to the strength of the Isuzu brand, the good reputation of the D-MAX and customer-focussed, dedicated dealers.”

Heritage

D-MAX embodies maker Isuzu Motors’ heritage as Japan’s longest-established diesel engine and truck designer and manufacturer, and it shows in some class-leading attributes.

Alone among conventional cab one-tonne utes, the Isuzu chassis offers a longer wheelbase in cab/chassis than in ute models — a substantial extra 150mm ― to make it equal class longest.

More usefully, this gives the D-MAX chassis the absolute class longest cab-to-axle dimension for optimal body length fitment and loaded stability and balance.

D-MAX shares the same Isuzu 3.0 litre, common-rail, variable-vane turbo-diesel engine as Isuzu’s NNR 200 series two-tonne truck range, evidence of its under-stressed spec and why it is so economical despite its larger capacity than most and its meaty 360 Nm of maximum torque.

Class highest tow ratings of 3.0 tonnes for 4x4 and 2.5 t for 4x2 further prove the point.

Frugal freighter

The D-MAX single cab/chassis tops the class 4x4 fuel economy stakes with an ADR 81/02 combined 8.1 litres/100km, while the 4x2 version’s 7.9 l/100km is also class best bar one 2.5L lower-output competitor. Economy expert Hans Tholstrup stretched a D-MAX SX 4x2 crew ute 1,716 km on one tank of diesel in an outback run which included 175 km of harsh gravel.

Rallyist Bruce Garland’s D-MAX beat all other diesel utes by over half a day in January’s car-killing, 9,000km Dakar Rally across Argentina, Chile and the Andes. Since then he has podium-placed as the top diesel in the Finke Desert Race and the Australasian Safari.

Isuzu Ute’s D-MAX range now totals 13 regular model variants encompassing 4x4 and 4x2 drivetrains, cab/chassis and ute variants as well as single, space and crew cabs. Manufacturer retail prices (plus on-road costs) span $24,900 to $44,200 excluding the Limited Edition ‘Pearler’ crew utes.

4WDNews.com.au

4WDNews.com.au

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