Everyone wants to know how the ISUZU D-max bakkie is built

Isuzu plant tours grow in popularity

Port Elizabeth

October 24, 2019

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From rugby players to ministers, and from Karoo primary school learners to vehicle buyers from across sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), everyone is interested in seeing exactly how an Isuzu bakkie and truck is built.

Isuzu Motors South Africa is one of only three manufacturing operations on the continent to produce Isuzu vehicles. Since the beginning of the year, close to a thousand visitors have made their way through the plant in Struandale, Port Elizabeth, which assembles the Isuzu D-MAX in both left and right-hand drive, as well as trucks.

The tours are led by employees who proudly share their knowledge of the Isuzu facilities and processes.

Recently a Ghanaian group of visitors, consisting of dealer representatives and government delegates, travelled from the Gulf of Guinea country to visit the South African operations.

Head of Sales and Marketing from Isuzu distributor MAC Ghana, Maneesh Raseen, said the group of ten delegates were very impressed by the factory tour.

“Isuzu is a tough, powerful and reliable pick-up known for its performance and long-life durability - hence it is a favourite of Ghanaians. The Isuzu D-MAX can handle the poor-quality roads with ease and it is extremely fuel-efficient. Another reason for the vehicles’ popularity is the low cost of ownership and maintenance,” said Raseen.

Earlier this year, the Zimbabwean Minister of Industry and Commerce visited the production plant. Honourable Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndhlovu was the first Zimbabwean dignitary to visit Isuzu Motors South Africa’s production facility.

“More recently we welcomed delegations of Isuzu customers from the Middle East and Botswana, as well as a group from the Japanese Embassy. Dozens of scholars, university students, business and government representatives, dealers, and fleet owners regularly visit the plant,” said Johan Vermeulen, Isuzu Motors South Africa Executive Manufacturing and Supply Chain. 

He pointed out that the South African plant is the first, and currently the only, facility globally to receive Arctic Trucks International’s stamp of approval to build a production Arctic Truck model. The Isuzu D-MAX AT35 is now part of the Isuzu product portfolio in South Africa.

“Our experience building light, medium and heavy commercial vehicles spans over four decades. Our vehicles are reliable and durable, and we continue to improve our manufacturing processes,” said Vermeulen.

He said the plant tours are a tangible introduction to Isuzu’s facilities and capabilities. “We are extremely proud of our production facility and the products that we build here. Our vehicles are locally engineered and meticulously built for the harsh African conditions. 

Our colleagues who work on the production line are proud to host visitors at our plant, and most visitors are very impressed by how engaged our employees -  at various levels - are during these tours. In their feedback to us, they praise the pleasant atmosphere and spirit in the plant,” Vermeulen added.

However, Vermeulen said, despite tours with many distinguished guests, plant visits by employees’ family members remain extra-special.

 

Pictured above
Visiting the Isuzu production plant are from left Dr Dawson Mareya, MD of Willowvale Motor Industries, Johan Vermeulen, Isuzu Executive Manufacturing and Supply Chain, Sean Waller, Autoworld Dealer shareholder, Honourable Minister Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndhlovu, Zimbabwean Minister of Trade and Industry, Denise van Huyssteen, Executive Corporate Affairs, Business Strategy and Legal and Paul Chenierayi Autoworld Dealer shareholder.

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