Motoring / Motoring News

Charl Bosch
Online Motoring Reporter
2 minute read
25 Sep 2020
11:07 am

Isuzu has no plans for a ‘made in South Africa’ MU-X

Charl Bosch

Set for replacing either next year or in 2022, the now seven year old MU-X will remain an imported model.

Facelift Isuzu MU-X

With production of the all-new D-Max delayed until 2022 due to the impact of the Coronavirus, the Japanese automaker has confirmed that it won’t be looking into producing the MU-X at the Port Elizabeth plant anytime soon.

Earlier this week, the marque’s Senior Vice President of Technical Operations, Dominic Rimmer, confirmed at a virtual media briefing that while testing of the new D-Max had already commenced, its delay from the original 2021 debut due to the impact of Covid-19 come as an unwanted surprise, but one which has provided it with additional time to ensure that local and international demands are met straight out of the box.

“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,” Rimmer said.

Despite an investment of R1.2-billion into the former General Motors (GM) plants by Isuzu Japan last year for D-Max production, the Thai-built MU-X won’t be joining its sibling to rival the likes of the Durban-built Toyota Fortuner and the Ford Everest made alongside the Ranger at the Silverton Plant outside Pretoria.

“Based on current volume projections, we do not have plans to produce the Isuzu MU-X in South Africa,” Isuzu’s Corporate Affairs, Business Strategy and Legal Executive Denise van Huyssteen confirmed to The Citizen at the virtual launch.

The recipient of a mild-life facelift back in May, the MU-X, which rides on the same platform as the soon-to-be-outgoing D-Max and replaced its Chevrolet TrailBlazer cousin two years ago following the brand’s exit along with GM in 2017, has struggled to find traction with sales often being limited to double digit figures and well off of those of the Fortuner and Everest, but often ahead or neck-and-neck with the recently updated Mitsubishi Pajero Sport.

A perennial best seller in Australia though where it comfortably outsells all of its mentioned rivals, the MU-X, which debuted globally seven years ago and came to South Africa on the back of its first lifecycle update, is set to be replaced either in the second half of next year or in 2022 according to caradvice.com.au.

It is therefore expected to receive the same upgraded 140kW/450Nm 3.0-litre D-TEQ engine as the D-Max. as well as the pick-up’s significantly redesigned interior and safety features, which saw it become the first of its kind to receive five-stars when crashed tested by ANCAP, Australia’s version of Euro NCAP, earlier this month.

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