Japan’s Isuzu Motors will build a new plant to reinforce the production capacity of Isuzu Motors Thailand Ltd to meet increasing demand for D-Max pickup trucks and their derivatives.
The automaker badly needs to expand its capacity, as back orders of the D-Max mid-sized model remain so high that Isuzu cannot guarantee delivery for all of them this year.
Executives are also optimistic that the new D-Max model to go on sale Oct 14 will receive a positive response from Thai drivers, which could potentially worsen supply problems.
The plant construction is expected to cost 18 billion yen (7.3 billion baht).
The plant in Chachoengsao will consist of new painting facilities, server press facilities and assembly and inspection lines.
Isuzu’s annual production of pickups in Thailand will reach almost 400,000 units by next October, said Susumu Hosoi, president of Isuzu Motors.
Hiroshi Nakagawa, president of Tri Petch Isuzu Sales, the local pickup distribution arm, said the new plant would have annual production of more than 90,000 units. The existing pickup plant at Samrong in Samut Prakan has a capacity of 288,000 units.
The company says the new D-Max features a more aerodynamic design and meets international environmental and safety standards. It will be offered with one 3-litre engine model and two 2.5-litre models with either two-wheel or four-wheel drive and five-speed manual or automatic transmissions.
Mr Nakagawa said Isuzu would produce between 240,000 and 250,000 units a year, with 60% slated for local sales and the rest for export.
Prices of the new D-Max will range from 465,000 baht to 994,000 baht.
Exports of the new D-Max will start early next year, mainly to the Middle East and Europe.
Mr Nakagawa added that the Isuzu Mu7 passenger pickup vehicle, a derivative of the D-Max, would not be produced over the next two years.
Isuzu has sold 2.14 million pickup trucks in Thailand since it started local production in 1974