With almost three years of waiting, Isuzu will officially unveil the seventh generation D-Max. Originally planned for unveiling, the onset of Covid-19 eroded any possibility of production at the Port Elizabeth plant commencing as planned due to travel restrictions that halted supply of tooling from the main facility in Thailand.
“The intention is to launch [the D-Max] in early 2022, the original plan was at the back-end of 2021 but COVID-19 has had an impact and we have had to retime it,” Isuzu’s Vice President of Technical Operations, Dominic Rimmer, told the media during a virtual press briefing two years ago. “There is no point in launching it early if it does not meet the South African or African customer requirements, hence when we do go to market, the vehicle is what customers want.”
At the time, Rimmer confirmed that a number of prototypes had already touched down in South Africa for testing, adding that a series of modifications would be applied to suit local market conditions. These include retuned suspension and dampers, a revised diff-lock, the fitting of all-terrain tyres, a new wiring harness, locally developed accessories and a loadbox made from thicker steel.
In confirming the mentioned launch date on the back of announcing ongoing production of the outgoing model set to be called D-Max GEN 6, Isuzu President and CEO, Billy Tom, also revealed the first locally assembled seventh generation D-Max at the Struandale.
On track to bow at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on said date, the D-Max is expected to mirror the outgoing model by being offered in single, extended and double cab bodystyles with a choice of rear-wheel-drive or four-wheel-drive. Representing a huge departure from its predecessor inside and out, it is anticipated that the D-Max model will get both turbodiesel engines available internationally and in its Thai-built sibling, the Mazda BT-50.
Transmission choices will comprise of a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic with the previous five-speed units falling away completely. Exact specification details and price will be announced at the unveiling or potentially in the run-up to 7 April.