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Could Isuzu Ute expand its offerings beyond just the D-Max and MU-X?

Isuzu Ute Australia only has two models in its portfolio, but the brand could expand to other areas.

Isuzu Ute Australia is doing a lot with a little, managing to be a top-10 player with just two models in its stable and holding off much bigger players like Nissan and Volkswagen in sales to the end of October this year.

But with just the D-Max ute and MU-X SUV on offer, how does Isuzu grow even more to better take on the likes of MG, Mitsubishi and Subaru?

The answer could very well come in the shape of a van, which would be in line with Isuzu’s light-commercial roots and allow for a model to rival the likes of the Ford Transit Custom, Hyundai Staria-Load, Mercedes-Benz Vito and Toyota HiAce according to one executive.

Speaking to CarsGuide at the 2023 Japan Mobility Show, Isuzu Motors Limited Vice-President of Corporate Strategy Division, Konstantin Kriegelsteiner, smiled at the idea of a van to compliment the D-Max and MU-X.

“There is going to be change in the overall landscape of what society needs,” he said.

“We need smaller shuttles instead of bigger buses, or more customised and more mixed models, so people and goods transport together, things like that.

“I can’t say what will come, but we’re definitely exploring all those options.

Here in Australia, the D-Max is the third best-selling ute. (Image: Tom White)

“We’re a big group and we have the technical capability, and we have the right strategic partnerships to handle whatever may come.”

And Kriegelsteiner recognises the need to capitalise on the success of the D-Max and MU-X, especially in Thailand where Isuzu is proving very popular.

“We’re the best-selling pick-up in Thailand, it’s the only market where Toyota is being beaten, so we face a lot of, let’s say, competitive pressure from them,” he said.

“But I think the customers in Thailand see the benefit of our unit, so there’s also potential to expand.”

Isuzu only have the D-Max ute and MU-X SUV on offer. (Image: Glen Sullivan)

Here in Australia, the D-Max is the third best-selling ute behind the dominant Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger with 24,677 year-to-date.

Though Isuzu Ute Australia falls under the larger Isuzu Motors global banner, local operations are separated from the Isuzu Trucks Australia division, with the former handling the D-Max and MU-X, while the latter oversees trucks such as the N Series and F Series.

Despite the differences in distribution on home soil, the D-Max and MU-X share commonality with the likes of the N Series trucks, all having ‘4J’ engines – albeit with slight variations.

The upcoming D-Max electric ute will also borrow technology from the N Series EV, which features modular battery packs up to a 100kWh total.

Tung Nguyen
News Editor
Having studied journalism at Monash University, Tung started his motoring journalism career more than a decade ago at established publications like Carsales and Wheels magazine. Since then, he has risen through...
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