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Isuzu Ute Ups D-MAX Sales and Dealers in its First Half Year

April 1st, 2009
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Car market relative newcomer Isuzu UTE Australia (IUA) has increased sales of its well-reputed Isuzu D-MAX diesel one-tonne ute and cab/chassis range every month in its first six months of operation, while upping its retail outlets to over 60 dealers nationwide.

Dealer signings into the national Isuzu UTE network have swelled from 38 at launch early last October to 61 currently.

Isuzu UTE Australia managing director Hitoshi Kono said IUA bucked the recent downward trend of most auto brands thanks to the strength of the Isuzu brand, the good reputation of the D-MAX globally and a burgeoning, dedicated 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, a 47 percent increase over February,” Mr Kono 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 well equipped with cruise control, premium audio, alloy wheels and 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,” Mr Kono said.

Truck 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 in its one-tonne class, the D-MAX chassis  offers a longer wheelbase in its cab/chassis variants than in its ute models — a substantial 150mm extension to make it equal class longest. More usefully, this gives the D-MAX chassis the absolute class longest cab-to-axle dimensions for optimal body length fitment and loaded stability and balance.

The D-MAX single cab/chassis tops the class 4x4 fuel economy stakes with an ADR 81/02 combined 8.1 litres/100km, whilst the 4x2 version’s 7.9 l/100km is also class best bar one smaller-engined, lower-output competitor. Economy expert Hans Tholstrup stretched a single cab tray-bodied D-MAX 1,528km on one tank of diesel, from Birdsville to outer Brisbane including 262 km of harsh outback gravel road.

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.

Isuzu Ute’s D-MAX range offers 4x4 and 4x2 drivetrains and cab/chassis and crew ute variants. Recommended retail prices (plus on-road costs) span $24,600 to $43,800.

In January, Sydneysider Bruce Garland’s D-MAX beat all other diesel utes by over half a day in the car-killing, 9,000km Dakar Rally across Argentina, Chile and the Andes mountains.

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