Big delay in Isuzu build project.
Isuzu’s new D-Max has been keenly anticipated but customers are in for more frustration.
The Japanese bakkie brand has announced that its production of new D-Max is being halted for 3 months. Although 2020 has been a year of unprecedented disruption in the global automotive industry, this announcement by Isuzu is unwelcome to followers of the brand.
Thailand is the production hub for both new D-Max and Mazda’s BT-50. These bakkies are mechanical twins, with only a few minor surface styling and cabin design differences. Despite their similarity, Mazda has not announced any disruption to its production pipeline, for new BT-50.
Why is the new D-Max production being ceased for the next three months? The official reason given by Isuzu is that one of its most important component suppliers for the new bakkie has been forced into a lockdown, by Covid regulations.
Although Isuzu is not at liberty to say exactly which supplier this is, or what bit of the new D-Max they can’t source from anywhere else, the location has been confirmed as Europe.
An educated guess would be that this European supplier that has been forced to cancel its shipments to Isuzu’s Thai facility for the next few months, is a technology leader. As bakkies have become more sophisticated, integrating autonomous safety technologies and road scanning sensors, they are a lot more at risk of supplier disruption.
The new D-Max has sophisticated road-scanning cameras and radar, to allow for its autonomous braking functions. These are features that have not been available on any D-Max bakkie before, and could be part of a new supplier network that Isuzu has tried to integrate. Covid’s European lockdown has clearly shown the risk of sourcing new technology components, from afar.
With an upgraded Hilux settling into the global market, this three-month production disruption could not have happened at a worse time, for Isuzu.
The local Isuzu D-Max is only set to go on sale in SA in the first half of 2022. The local division does not anticipate that this parts delay will affect local production.