Next-generation Isuzu D-Max bakkie will have ‘uniquely South African features’
JOHANNESBURG - The next-generation Isuzu D-Max will have some uniquely South African characteristics and features, the company said during an online business presentation on Tuesday.
Work is well underway on the engineering and testing of the new model bakkie ahead of it going into local production. However, while the company had originally intended to launch the new D-Max towards the end of 2021, its introduction has now been pushed back until early 2022 due to delays brought by this year’s lockdown.
Isuzu did not go into detail on which aspects will be unique to South Africa, but hinted that the company was working on something that might fill the space occupied by the current X-Rider model.
Furthermore, Isuzu would not comment on the engine range that will be fitted to the new D-Max. While it seems likely that the new 140kW, 450Nm 3-litre turbodiesel will be part of the mix, it’s not clear whether the 1.8-litre turbodiesel that’s offered in many overseas markets will form part of the SA range.
The new D-Max range will be produced in Port Elizabeth as part of a R1.2-million investment that was announced in late 2019. Through this Isuzu also plans to increase its annual bakkie production to around 29 000 units a year, with the aim of growing its export strategy.
“This next generation D-MAX is a significant step forward for Isuzu in all respects,” said senior vice president of technical operations Dominic Rimmer.
“As you know we have very high expectations for the D-Max here in South Africa so a significant amount of work has to be done to ensure that we deliver a vehicle which is capable of coping with our challenging environment and customer demands”.
According to Isuzu, some of the key projects being undertaken include testing on the load box which in the current bakkie has significantly thicker steel in strategic areas such as the load box inner panels, load box front panel, and tailgate.
Other areas receiving attention from local engineers include suspension tuning, dust sealing and development of local dampers and all terrain tyres, as well as accessories such as canopies, roll bars and nudge bars.