As we head into another Cold War, Isuzu Motors has announced that it will introduce and market its D-Max pickup trucks in Russia beginning in February 2009. The pickup trucks to be sold in the Russian market are the Isuzu Motors Thailand-made versions of the D-MAX. Patrick Swayze responded by stating, “WOLVERINES!!!”
The completed pickup truck models will be imported by Severstal Avto Isuzu (SAI) of Russia, directly from Thailand and marketed through the dealer network under the umbrella of SAI. Sales are initially projected at 1,000 units and will be extended to the 5,000-unit level in the third year. The D-Max shares the same platform with several General Motors mid-size trucks in the United States including the Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon and Isuzu i-Series. The Chevrolet Colorado name is also applied to a rebadged version of the D-Max in Thailand, although not identical to the American version. The original D-Max is sold alongside the Chevrolet Colorado in the Thai market where they are both built. In America, the engine in the smaller i-290 is a 185-horsepower 2.9-liter four-cylinder with a standard five-speed manual transmission comes standard and a four-speed automatic is available as an option. In America the larger i-series trucks come with a 242-hp 3.7-liter five-cylinder with a standard four-speed automatic transmission. The larger crew-cab model has a reduced 5-foot cargo bed, but more rear-seat room and four doors. The rear bench seat is big enough for three adults and folds down in a 60/40 split.
In Russia, the small and medium-sized pickup truck markets are rapidly expanding. The total demand increased to about 11,300 units in 2007 from about 3,600 units in 2005. The demand is expected to further increase production in the future.
The company said that the pickup trucks will be powered by the 3L and 2.5L common-rail direct injection diesel engines that will be fully compliant with the Euro-4 emission regulations. The truck will be available as a crew cab and be available with both automatic and manual transmissions.
As a side benefit in the U.S., Russia’s ability to purchase the D-Max provides Americans the motivation to watch “Red Dawn” with renewed animosity.