The first locally engineered and produced 7th generation ISUZU D-MAX bakkie rolled off the production line today. This signifies the beginning of Isuzu Motors South Africa’s (IMSAf) mass production of its soon-to-be-launched bakkie. High-ranking officials, led by the Premier of the Eastern Cape, Oscar Mabuyane, and Naamsa CEO, Mikel Mabasa, attended the proceedings at the OEM’s manufacturing plant in Gqeberha.
This is a key milestone for ISUZU as this 7th generation bakkie is the culmination of a R1.2 billion investment the business announced in 2019.
“ISUZU’s Struandale plant and the new generation ISUZU D-MAX programme is crucial to the communities in the Nelson Mandela Bay metro and the livelihoods of thousands in South Africa and Africa,” said Billy Tom, President and CEO of ISUZU Motors South Africa. “We are delighted to see our significant investment in the motor industry come to fruition, and to secure the jobs of so many citizens while simultaneously bringing a vehicle re-engineered for African conditions to market.”
The investment was also crucial in ensuring the plant is upgraded to include state-of-the-art manufacturing equipment. The ISUZU manufacturing plant in Struandale now boasts a new body shop at the Struandale Manufacturing Plant, a new chassis assembly line at Isuzu’s Kempston Road facility, significant modifications to the paint shop and general assembly areas.
“The new vehicle programme is dependent on more sophisticated tooling, technologies, and increased automation, in line with technological advancements and improved efficiencies,” said Dominic Rimmer, IMSAf Senior Vice President Technical Operations. “We have had to make significant changes to our facilities to accommodate new manufacturing techniques where we have invested in complete new machinery and equipment in both our body shop and chassis assembly line.
In addition to preparing new facilities for the assembly of the new ISUZU D-MAX, ISUZU engineers have been hard at work doing validation, homologation, and durability testing in preparation for the new bakkie’s introduction to the South African and Rest of Africa (ROFA) markets.
ISUZU Motors South Africa will officially launch the ISUZU D-MAX on the 7th April 2022 at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Gqeberha. Dubbed the ISUZU City, the OEM has appointed the services of local suppliers to ensure the launch benefits surrounding businesses.
The new ISUZU D-MAX is the seventh generation ISUZU light commercial vehicle to be produced in Gqeberha over a period of 42 years.