You're wrong about the 2022 Subaru WRX, and here's why | Opinion
Right now, Subaru executives in Japan must be facepalming over some of the...
Browse over 9,000 car reviews
Speaking to CarsGuide at the launch of the new-generation MU-X, Isuzu’s executives say the brand isn’t threatened by the rise of Chinese newcomers, LDV and GWM.
When asked about the rise of rivals, executives representing the automaker - which currently offers only two vehicles in the passenger segment - said it recognised the new challengers.
As of June 2021, LDV has moved 5216 units in the ‘light commercial’ ute space, up 3.9 per cent on last year, while GWM has moved 3843 units, up 2.9 per cent. While both are strong numbers for segment upstarts, they pale in comparison to Isuzu’s strong 13,805 unit showing, with a year-on-year increase of 10.3 per cent off the back of the launch of the new-generation D-Max.
“While these brands are lifting up in sales numbers, there is new opportunity for us as Holden has exited the market. We think the entire segment will be lifted up [in sales numbers], and we can utilise that opportunity,” Mr Yoshida continued.
Up until June last year, Holden had moved 6,712 Colorado utes and 1105 Trailblazer SUVs (which were based on the previous-genertion D-Max and MU-X respectively), before winding down its entire business, leaving a significant market gap to be filled by competitors in the last six months.
The entire ‘light commercial’ segment has expanded off strong ute sales in the last 12 months, with the class expanding from 100,614 units this time last year to 133,507 units this year, a total increase of 32.7 per cent.
When asked if this brand repositioning has had an influence in the higher price and specification of the brand’s new-generation D-Max and MU-X, Mr Yoshida shared his thoughts.
“Yes, with our new features and lift in specification – we are penetrating more at the high end, but we’re also maintaining the current [MU-X] customer; we think we can still remain in that value segment as well,” he said.
Clarifying, the brand’s local marketing manager, Mike Conybeare, said: “We’re not ‘going high-end’, per se. I think now we can say we’re putting a vehicle to market that ticks more of those [safety and technology] boxes. We’re not the cheapest, but we’re also not the most expensive. We need to consider what is a good balance for our customer.”
Isuzu expects a high level of repeat customers for its MU-X, as it says “the satisfaction experience has always been quite high”, although it says the increase in safety equipment and onboard technology with features like wireless Apple CarPlay will draw in a younger audience.
“With the current model we do have an older demographic,” the brand’s executives conceded, “but to a degree with D-Max. we see younger customers that are coming in. We expect to see that with the new MU-X – the age bracket to drop slightly. We want to appeal to customers who haven’t considered us before.”
It expects the unusual-for-the-segment high-spec 4x2 variants to be especially positioned to give it better appeal to city-based buyers who do not necessarily need off-road ability, but may be drawn in by the SUV’s seven seats and 3500kg towing capacity.
The new MU-X has jumped in MSRP by at least $4000 to account for new standard equipment, although the brand maintains the same three trim-level range, all of which can be chosen in either 4x2 or 4x4 layout. It includes the full active safety suite as standard, as well as new innovations like wireless Apple CarPlay. While stock levels of the popular D-Max ute are still an issue for the brand, it says the initial allocation of MU-X SUVs should be sufficient in the short term.