Isuzu’s factory in Thailand is back up and running, but potential D-Max buyers still face a wait for their new utes.
The brand was staring down the barrel of a three-month factory closure because of a production stop on an engine component sourced from Europe, but this week it sent the following letter to customers:
We can confirm that All-New D-Max production for the Australian market is operational. However, there continues to be ongoing supply delays of the All-New D-Max specifically for Australian Market due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Therefore, we will unfortunately be unable to fully meet the unprecedented levels of vehicle demand presently. IUA and all related parties continue to follow up this matter daily to ensure a quick recovery to meet the Australian market demand as soon as possible.
We also remain committed to keeping Dealers informed on their vehicle orders, so they can pass this information onto their customers as quickly as possible. We’d like to apologise for the situation and thank everyone for their support and understanding during this challenging time.
Isuzu was struggling to match demand for the new D-Max before the factory shutdown, with wait times for the D-Max X-Terrain ballooning out to five months earlier this year.
Although it’s built at the same factory in Thailand, the Mazda BT-50 appears unaffected by the factory shutdown.
Mazda Australia last week told CarExpert “the launch of the brand new BT-50 is of high priority for Mazda Australia and we have forward ordered supply numbers accordingly”.
“As such, we remain confident that we will have supply for the foreseeable future and look forward to continuing our campaign to introduce the ute to Australian consumers.”
Mazda has lofty sales goals for its new ute. It’s targeting 1300 sales per month with the 2021 Mazda BT-50 ute, a significant jump on the 946 monthly combined 4×2 and 4×4 ute sales it managed in 2019.
The target is higher even than the 1208 per month it averaged in 2016, the strongest year since the second-generation BT-50 went on sale in 2011.
“For the next couple of years given the current circumstances in the marketplace, the overall market we are forecasting it to be down – or even if it’s not forecast, the view is it will be down,” Mazda Australia managing director Vinesh Bhindi told media.
“In that market, we think that we can get anywhere from 1200 to 1300 [sales] a month,” he said. “Of course, as we see the market grow and the opportunities grow, we will have high aspirations beyond that.”