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Gqeberha bakkie launch a local production first

Home Manufacturing & Processing Automotive Gqeberha bakkie launch a local production first

THE first locally engineered and produced 7th generation Isuzu D-Max bakkie rolled off the production line at the automaker’s Struandale plant recently. High ranking officials, led by Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane, and Naamsa CEO, Mikel Mabasa, attended the proceedings.

Billy Tom, President and CEO of Isuzu Motors South Africa’s (IMSAf) described it as a key milestone for mass production of their soon to be launched bakkie and the culmination of a R1.2-billion investment announced in 2019.

“Isuzu’s Struandale plant and the new generation D-Max programme is crucial to the communities in the Nelson Mandela Bay metro and the livelihoods of thousands in South Africa and Africa,” Tom said. “We are delighted to see our significant investment in the motor industry come to fruition, and to secure the jobs of so many citizens while simultaneously bringing a vehicle re-engineered for African conditions to market.”

The investment was also crucial in ensuring the Struandale plant was upgraded to include a new body shop. Other upgrades are a new chassis assembly line at Isuzu’s Kempston Road facility, as well as significant modifications to the paint shop and general assembly areas.

“The new vehicle programme is dependent on more sophisticated tooling, technologies and increased automation, in line with technological advancements and improved efficiencies,” said Dominic Rimmer, IMSAf Senior Vice President Technical Operations.

“We have had to make significant changes to our facilities to accommodate new manufacturing techniques where we have invested in complete new machinery and equipment in both our body shop and chassis assembly line.”

In addition to preparing new facilities for the assembly of the new ISUZU D-MAX, ISUZU engineers have been hard at work doing validation, homologation, and durability testing in preparation for the new bakkie’s introduction to the South African and Rest of Africa (ROFA) markets.

The company will officially launch the Isuzu D-Max on the 7 April 2022 at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Gqeberha. It is the seventh generation Isuzu light commercial vehicle to be produced in the city over a period of 42 years.

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