I am glad to see so many people here today. I believe that you are all very eager and excited to see this all-new Isuzu D-Max. I am also very excited about this new model because in the markets that have received this new vehicle, everybody has been impressed by its good looks, its comfort, performance and high levels of safety.
In Thailand, where this new D-Max was first launched just over a year ago, sales have already exceeded 250,000 units. The supply however was affected by the floods there and later by the triple disaster in Japan. This combination created a global delay in shipments to other parts of the world including Malaysia.
To help alleviate this backlog, Isuzu Motors built the new Gateway plant in Thailand in October last year to meet the rising demand for Isuzu vehicles.
This improved capacity with this new plant has assisted in us getting our CKD packs this year and we began our trial assembly of the new D-Max a few months ago.
As you may know, Isuzu pick-up trucks have the distinction of being one of the most efficient and durable pick-up trucks in the world. Since 1972 when we first began producing pick-up trucks, we have sold over 6.4 million units worldwide.
Our D-Max alone has sold over 2.5 million units in over 80 countries globally. This has been due to the strong DNA relationship with our trucks. In fact, Isuzu engines are considered one of the most popular in the world with production of over 23 million engines to date.
The all-new Isuzu D-Max we are introducing today is an exceptional automobile. It has undergone a very intensive development programme to get the result we will see shortly. The shape is a stylish new design and it offers impressive comfort and sophistication, safety and refinement. It has a new powerful 2.5-litre VGS engine that provides excellent driving characteristics.
But just as important, it remains an Isuzu product so you can be assured of excellent durability, reliability and fuel efficiency. I urge you to take a test drive when you have the opportunity.