Why Isuzu wants you to pick new D-Max 2021 over new Mazda BT-50 2021

Isuzu’s all-new D-Max and the 2021 Mazda BT-50 might share more than a few things in common under the surface, but which one should you buy?

From the outside, both models are easily distinguishable thanks to the BT-50’s ‘Kodo’ design language that is seen on all modern Mazdas, while the D-Max skews more towards the tough and rugged aesthetic.

Underpinning both models though, is the same 140kW/450Nm 3.0-litre turbo-diesel engine, six-speed manual or automatic transmission, advanced safety features and 3.5-ton towing capacity, so why should you pick one over the other?

Isuzu Ute Australia general manager of sales Ben Jaeger told journalists at the reveal of the D-Max that the brand believes its retail network can offer better experience for customers.

“We’ve been working really hard on having a more customer-centric approach,” he said.

“The other thing that we’re working on is with our dealer network. Our current dealer network stands at 157 locations, some of those are service only, but I guess the big advantage that brings us is the reach and convenience because we’ve got dealers in some far and wide-reaching places, which obviously lends itself very well to the type of vehicle that we sell.

“Obviously we’re trying to improve that customer experience, we’ll be working really hard with our dealers who are highly engaged, we’ve got a fantastic dealer network who are really excited about seeing this product.”

By comparison, Mazda has around 134 sales and service outlets around Australia.

Mr Jaeger also said that Isuzu’s push to improve customer service wouldn’t be limited to just private buyers, but also fleets and businesses.

“We feel as though there is space for us to grab some volume and some share in the fleet space,” he said.

“We do have a very good share of our sales that come from fleet, but we feel as though there’s room to grow in that space.

“We haven’t been able to sell to some larger fleet customers because of the safety requirements, and this vehicle is obviously a leader in safety now, and that opens up doors and opportunities for us to sell into those particular customers.”

Mr Jaeger pointed out mining companies as a specific opportunity for Isuzu, though how many sales the D-Max can steal from the likes of the Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger is yet to be seen.

Also separating the D-Max and BT-50 is the warranty period, with Isuzu offering a six-year/150,000km assurance whereas Mazda’s runs for five years/unlimited kilometres.

However, Mr Jaeger said there is ultimate room for both the BT-50 and D-Max in the competitive Australian ute market, which accounts for nearly 20 per cent of the overall new car retailing industry.

“At the end of the day, it’s the elephant in the room isn’t it? But the reality is that we’ve got two very different brands, two very different brand propositions,” he said.

“Our brands themselves appeal to very different customer bases.

“We sort of earned our stripes in the commercial space, we’ve got a very, very strong reputation for that.

“We also feel our network provides us a real strength, especially in the coverage around the county.

“We’re also very strong across all customer types, whilst we really value our private and ABN customers … we are also quite experienced in dealer with fleets of larger sizes, providing true business solutions for their needs.

“So, we’re quite rounded in what we can offer up to a variety of customers.

“Now I can speak for Mazda, they might be working really hard on their end in that space as well, but I guess that’s our position to market.”