An Isuzu executive says the new D-Max is a “benchmark vehicle” that will pull sales from segment leaders, the Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger.

Ben Jaeger, Isuzu Ute Australia's general manager of sales, told CarsGuide.com.au the brand expected the new D-Max to grab a larger slice of the sales pie.

As is the case in South Africa, the Hilux is the best-selling bakkie Down Under, with the Ranger slotting into second place.

“We are moving up in regards to our pricing levels, but we still feel as though we’ll be priced appropriately against the likes of Hilux and Ranger,” Jaeger said, referring specifically to the Australian market.

“We see them as our more natural competitors – they’re obviously the leaders for a reason; they set the benchmark – but we feel as though we’ve got as benchmark vehicle to be able to compete.

“From that point of view, we feel as though we’ll be able to conquest business from those brands, but at the same time our vehicle has a broader appeal across all markets as well,” Jaeger said, adding the company was “quite excited about the prospect this vehicle provides us”.

Revealed in October 2019, the latest-generation D-Max is powered by a “newly developed” version of the Japanese firm’s familiar 3,0-litre turbodiesel engine, with peak outputs hiked to 140 kW (at 3 600 r/min) and 450 N.m (between 1 600 and 2 600 r/min).

While the new bakkie has already launched in countries such as Thailand (with an Australian market launch set down for September 2020), Isuzu Motors South Africa earlier confirmed local D-Max fans would have to wait until the second half of 2021 to purchase the new-generation, locally built version.