Published on February 10th, 2022 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
How Did The ISUZU D-Max Get Back Its Number One Position
The rise of ISUZU’s one-ton pickup truck sales in Thailand has been impressive.
Today, equipped with a punchy turbo diesel engine, the award winning ISUZU D-Max pick-up is leading the charge, delivering 190PS and 450Nm of torque (X-Terrain variant). More so in Thailand, which happens to be the biggest pickup truck market in the world.
Sales of this All-New ISUZU D-Max, which launched just a year ago has been strong throughout 2021 and continues in 2022.
ISUZU is one of the 2 key players in the race for pickup sales in Thailand, having market shares over the past decade that control around two-thirds of the total pickup market.
During 2020, all brands except for ISUZU lost significant pickup market share, with ISUZU beating competitors and claiming the number 1 spot in Thailand for the pickup vehicle market.
ISUZU expected that COVID-19 would impact consumer income and that vehicle sales would drop dramatically, but in practice, many unemployed people went back to their hometown to start new businesses.
The local Japanese Chamber of Commerce also revealed that the sales of pickups were from the higher needs of logistics.
While pickup truck sales of other brands declined from 2019 by up to 45 percent, ISUZU’s pickup truck sales grew by 9 percent in 2020, selling more than before the pandemic, making ISUZU the top-selling pickup brand in 2020.
Why buy ISUZU during the pandemic?
In April 2021 consulting firm ABeam’s market study in Thailand’s pickup truck segment looked at different factors that impact consumers when choosing specific brands and models. the survey concluded that a combination of brand reputation, vehicle design, driving experience, and cost of total car ownership factors can significantly affect the vehicle purchasing decision among other factors.
ABeam’s Customer Journey Study from 2019 showed Isuzu as the no. 1 brand with the highest customer loyalty within the non-luxury vehicle segment, while its key competitor was no. 2.
Following those findings, ABeam did another analysis through social listening of online channels in 2021, comparing Isuzu’s and key competitor’s users. It found that 83 percent of their comments agreed that Isuzu had lower cost of ownership.
Vehicle design was another influential factor from the studied comments; ISUZU had launched the new ISUZU D-max in October 2019 after the last minor change in late 2018, which when consumers compared pickup models, led them to feel that the new ISUZU model looked more modern than the current model of its key competitor, which launched its latest design in 2018, even though the driving experience comments did not show any significant difference.
It was also discovered that from a Thai consumer perspective, ISUZU is the more cost-effective pickup; the smallest engine size of ISUZU starts at 1.9-liter, while the immediate key competitor uses a 2.4-liter engine, allowing its entry model to offer lower fuel cost.
Another point is that the prime competitor focuses more on pickup models with an automatic transmission, which is preferred by new drivers, as well as female drivers, but usually is considered to result in worse fuel consumption.
A gap for manual transmission can also be seen with ISUZU offering a 6-speed transmission system for all its models, while It’s key competitor still uses a 5-speed transmission system for some of its entry models which can result in slightly worse fuel efficiency, which is more of a perception with customers rather than fact.