Isuzu has set up a new fleet dealer programme and announced its largest-ever corporate deal, with 197 D-max pick-ups going to the Environment agency as the Japanese firm seeks to make the step into core fleet business.

“The D-max utility end of the range is more practical for fleet users, so it makes sense
to start to focus more on introducing those products to larger fleet operators that run pick-ups, such as utility firms and Government agencies, including the likes of the MoD and Environment agency,” Isuzu’s fleet operations manager alan able told
What Van? “They don’t want the cost of repairing colour-coded bumpers and alloy wheels, and with the D-max we’ve now got that, so we can go to them with a more suitable proposition that ticks the box without being over-specced.”

Able said the fleet business will be “absolutely incremental growth” over the impressive 5500 registrations the D-max achieved in 2014, putting it third in class behind only the Toyota Hilux and Mitsubishi L200. “There is still some Toyota share we can nibble away at,” said able, who added there isn’t enough awareness of the towing weights of different pick-ups since Isuzu’s top-spec Blade model was launched with a 3.5t towing capability.

“Because ourselves and the Ford Ranger can tow 3.5t, a lot of fleet customers have the perception that all can do that, and there’s duty of care education [needed] that, actually, things like the Hilux can’t, and they shouldn’t be putting employees in a situation where they are breaking the law.”

The fleet mix is expected to be dominated by double cab models, with able ordering 50 extended cab and 25 single cab vehicles for every 100 double cabs. He said the firm has also witnessed increased interest in the likes of platform cabs based on the single cab layout.