The head of Isuzu Motors South Africa says the Japanese firm has yet to confirm whether or not the next-generation D-Max bakkie will be produced locally.

Earlier in February, Isuzu Motors SA officially launched its consolidated truck and bakkie manufacturing plant in Port Elizabeth after an investment of some R27-million. It currently builds the D-Max (previously badged as the KB) at its Struandale facility.

“Africa is the future for these types of vehicles and we need a replacement, because our competitors are replacing their models. Ford has just launched the Ranger, Toyota is expected to replace the Hilux in 2021 or 2022 and Nissan will eventually change the Hardbody,” Michael Sacke, Isuzu Motors SA’s chief executive and managing director, told the Business Report.

“We have to stay competitive, and to stay competitive we need to change our model. A decision would have to be made on South Africa this year,” Sacke added.

He revealed that the next-generation D-Max – which we already know will be developed alongside the Mazda BT-50’s successor – would likely be launch in Thailand before the end of 2019.

In mid-2018, Isuzu Motors SA has hit a 40-year manufacturing milestone in South Africa, with the very first locally built Isuzu-badged bakkie having rolled off the production line way back in 1978. Since then, more than 600 000 examples have been produced in South Africa.