Mazda Australia is “confident” a factory shutdown won’t slow supply of its 2021 BT-50 ute for the foreseeable future.

    Isuzu this week confirmed the factory where the new D-Max and its mechanical twin from Mazda are manufactured will shut down for up to three months, because of a production stop on an engine component sourced from Europe.

    Isuzu Ute Australia issued the following statement: Due to unforeseen circumstances, Isuzu Ute Australia regrettably advises that production of the 21MY Isuzu D-Max has been temporarily put on hold.

    The unfortunate pause in vehicle production is related to one of our key component suppliers in Europe (producing unique components for our Australian-specification D-Max) has had to temporally close their manufacturing plant due to COVID-19. As a result we have had to suspend our D-Max production in Thailand for up to three months, with a tentative recommencement of vehicle production of February 2021.

    The pause in production is limited to the 21MY Isuzu D-Max and does not affect the production of the Isuzu MU-X. Isuzu Ute Australia apologises for the inconvenience caused and would like to thank our customers for their patience and understanding as we navigate this unprecedented situation.

    The shutdown will create further headaches for Isuzu, which has already seen wait times for the D-Max X-Terrain balloon out to five months.

    However, Mazda says it’s not expecting the shutdown to impact BT-50 orders in the short-term.

    Mazda Australia today issued the following statement: At this stage we are still evaluating whether the Isuzu parts supply constraint will interrupt production to Mazda BT-50.

    However, 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.”

    Based on current sales figures, that would put BT-50 head-to-head with the Nissan Navara (1072 sales in September) and Mitsubishi Triton (1446) in the sales race, along with the Isuzu D-Max (1118) with which it shares its underpinnings.

    Mr Bhindi says the new BT-50 should see Mazda grow its market share in the ute segment from the current seven per cent.

    Scott Collie

    Scott Collie is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Scott studied journalism at RMIT University and, after a lifelong obsession with everything automotive, started covering the car industry shortly afterwards. He has a passion for travel, and is an avid Melbourne Demons supporter.

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