The state of the truck industry in South Africa can be considered as becoming somewhat congested and competitive as more and more new manufacturers enter the market with promises of greater things.
Having been in the forefront of their market segment for many years and particularly since 2007, Isuzu Trucks in South Africa with facts, figures and performance on their side have obviously been doing things right, not the least of which has been their ability to read their market in great detail and subsequently offer a vehicle for just about any application.
In the light to heavy duty range, Isuzu Truck South Africa has had no peer in recognising opportunities to fill any void that may exist in their market requirements.
The backing from Isuzu Motors, Japan who has the longest history of any vehicle manufacturer, has contributed greatly to the success of the local company. Commercial vehicles to move goods and diesel engines to provide power, is the combination that is required to support the lives of people around the world.
During the last six years, Isuzu Trucks has not only maintained their market position but have also grown their business with the effects of the tsunami well behind them.
Craig Uren, Chief Operating Officer of Isuzu Truck South Africa was upbeat with the performance of the company in the past six months and said, “In the short six years since its inception, Isuzu Truck South Africa has performed exceptionally well mainly as a result of a brand that has, with reliability as the foundation, developed a world standard and taken the lead in turning the world’s highest standards in diesel technologies and commercial vehicles into products”.
The last six months have seen Isuzu Truck South Africa maintaining their growth pattern which has been synonymous with the brand year on year since 2009. From January 2013 to date the company has outperformed the market with overall sales up by 11.3% compared with the corresponding period in 2012. In the medium commercial market where Isuzu is at its strongest, the gain has been from 17.4% in 2012 to 19.2% YTD in 2013.
“The introduction of the Automated Manual Transmission (AMT) into our range has contributed greatly to the demand for the products as we at Isuzu are the leaders in this innovative technology in the medium to heavy commercial vehicles”, commented Uren. The benefits of the AMT have proven to be immense, for the operators as it has helped to reduce their operating maintenance costs considerably. Clutch adjustments and replacements are a thing of the past in AMT powered vehicles and coupled to the safety factor where the driver concentrates on the road instead of continuous gear changing, makes the AMT concept high on the priority list for any operator. The transmission and engine ECM units optimise the gear selection for any terrain and road condition – the transmission ensures that a driver will always be in the correct gear ratio to suit the load.
In South Africa AMT is unique in the medium range trucks to the Isuzu N-Series and with the increasing demand, more and more models in the range are being sold with the AMT transmission as a standard feature. This feature has now been extended to the heavy – duty F-Series with increasing successes in the field.
The AMT transmission has been in the market for some time now and the positive feedback Isuzu Truck is receiving on a daily basis from the market points to huge savings in operating costs.
Operators have found that with the AMT, drivers have eliminated the over-revving hazards prevalent in the medium truck market where an unprofessional driver majority tend to treat trucks like light commercial delivery vehicles.
Most operators prefer their drivers to remain in “ECONO’ mode, which selects the gear most suitable for fuel economy and ensures that gear changes, will occur between 1 000 to 1 500 rpm. In “NORMAL” driving mode gear changes occur between 2 500 to 3 000 rpm.
Isuzu N-Series with AMT is now the market leader in terms of lifetime costing and minimal environmental impact. In addition, every feature on this technically advanced medium truck also makes it driver friendly and is setting the standard for future cost efficiency among medium truck operators.
The introduction of the AMT in the larger F-Series is certainly to have similar benefits to operators. Fitted to the 11, 13, and 15 ton GVM Isuzu models, the AMT transmission promises to have an 18 month payback period even with the extra premium require at point of purchase.
The concept of the AMT in the larger vehicles was emphasised when Isuzu Truck South Africa entered two F-Series vehicles in the recent truck test conducted in Johannesburg. Fourteen vehicles from the major manufacturers participated in the event which was restricted to vehicles with a permissible vehicle mass of between 13 500 kg and 16 000 kg. Each vehicle was prepared with the same specification, with cargo body and with permissible payloads from 6 661 kg to 7 931 kg depending on each vehicle’s carrying capacity. Aerodynamic kits were also permitted on vehicles as an option.
The two Isuzu FSR 800 AMT’s entered for the test, were identical vehicles except for the aerodynamic kit fitted to the one unit. Being the only AMT type vehicles they acquitted themselves exceptionally well throughout and were able to achieve fuel consumption figures which were well inside those achieved by the competitive brands proving that the AMT transmission has nullified the old concept of power loss and high fuel consumption associated with automatic transmissions.
The solid reputation of the Isuzu brand cannot be questioned as the market share continues to grow year on year and the technical advances built into every truck will continue to provide the multitude of customers with cost efficient and reliable transport solutions.