Much like the resilience of Isuzu’s bakkies and trucks on the continent’s roads, the vehicle manufacturer has shown grit with solid sales figures despite the challenging economic conditions this year.
At an online media event hosted today Isuzu Motors South Africa newly appointed CEO and MD Billy Tom said Isuzu was well-placed to operate in the current rapidly changing environment despite the impact of Covid-19. “Given where we have come from, we have a proven track record of resilience which is enabling us to navigate through the current disruptions in our environment. Testament to this is the sales performance which we have delivered over the past few months,” he said.
Isuzu’s flagship D-MAX bakkie sales in South Africa reached a new high in August, with a market share tracking at 17.3% August YTD. “During the month of August, we had the best Isuzu D-MAX August sales month in 14 years. Isuzu D-MAX was the second best-selling bakkie in the market for May, June and August. On the truck side, our share of the medium and heavy commercial market – excluding van and bus, is currently tracking at 12.7% year to date. So far, we have retained our number one position in the commercial market -, excluding van and bus - and plan to retain this position in 2020,” emphasised Tom.
These positive sales performances, despite the current downward trend in domestic vehicle sales in South Africa, Tom attributed to the Isuzu team’s agility, flexibility and resilience to proactively and positively respond to change. Another evergreen reason for the success of Isuzu’s bakkies and trucks in the local market is the reliability, durability and capability which the vehicles have become known for over the decades.
“The reliability of our bakkies are legendary. In fact, we have a customer whose bakkie is on its way to achieving two million kilometres on the odometer. If you speak to many of our customers, they will tell you that we do live up to our tagline of being with you for the long run,” said Tom.
One of Isuzu’s strengths in keeping customers on the road for the long run is the expert local engineering capabilities of the Isuzu team, who specifically engineer Isuzu vehicles for conditions in South Africa and further afield on the continent.
With a network of 108 dealers across Sub-Saharan Africa, Isuzu’s footprint is rapidly growing on the continent.
“It is worth noting that our sales in Sub-Saharan Africa markets outside of South Africa are only down by 4.7% during the first eight months of this year versus the same period last year. And when you think about this, given the impact of Covid-19 and the global downturn, this is quite a remarkable achievement,” said Tom.
Isuzu has held the number one position in the Zimbabwean market since the start of the year, with a volume increase over 51% versus August YTD 2019. The brand’s popularity in the market is growing from strength to strength with the Isuzu D-MAX recently winning the 2020 Zimbabwean Online Car of the Year Award.
Isuzu has also maintained market leadership in Kenya, where semi-knocked down bakkies are exported from Isuzu’s Struandale manufacturing plant in Port Elizabeth.
Towards the end of last year, Isuzu Motors Japan announced that it would be investing R1.2 billion in the next generation bakkie programme in South Africa. “Project teams from Japan, Thailand and South Africa are currently working full steam ahead on this project with a priority focus on engineering the vehicle to meet the requirements of our customers in the Africa markets and also in terms of increasing localisation opportunities,” said Tom. “Additionally, we are in discussions with Isuzu Japan to bring the assembly of the next generation of trucks to South Africa. It is still early days but once the programme details have been confirmed, we will share this with our stakeholders.”