At the launch of the new Isuzu D-Max today, no less than Isuzu Philippines president Nobuo Izumina revealed that the Japanese truckmaker's latest pickup will soon be manufactured at the company's Biñan, Laguna, assembly plant.
"I am happy to announce to you that the new Isuzu D-Max will be locally assembled at our manufacturing facility in Biñan, Laguna, after only less than a year," said Izumina, who also added that the trucks will be sourced from Thailand for the first five months.
True enough, that's what everyone who relied on the press release issued by Isuzu today is saying. Well, we talked to IPC sales chief Joseph Bautista during the launch and he gave us a very different story.
"Pilot production for the all-new D-Max has already begun at our plant in Laguna," Bautista told TopGear.com.ph. "Only the first few units will be from Thailand. By October, all the D-Max units in the showrooms will be made in the Philippines."
So, what made Isuzu Motors of Japan change its tune on the second-generation D-Max, from procuring it purely from Thailand to finally producing it locally for our market?
"Isuzu Motors is confident in the Philippine market," shared Bautista. "They're banking on how strong Isuzu pickups have performed in the market since IPC began assembling it locally in the 1990s."
But how confident exactly? Well, with the Philippine pickup market projected at reaching 20,000-unit sales for 2013, IPC is looking to get at least a 20% share of the market, or 4,000 units by the end of the year, said IPC executive vice president Takashi Tomita.
So, with the features and prices of all seven D-Max variants, do you think IPC's 4,000-unit sales target is achievable?