Isuzu Motors has launched its business operations in South Africa. This followed the announcement last year when the firm said it would purchase the light commercial vehicle operations in Port Elizabeth and the balance of shareholding in its Isuzu Trucks South Africa operations.
Speaking at the event, which held at the firm’s manufacturing plant in Struandale, Port Elizabeth, President and Representative Director of Isuzu Motors of Japan, Masanori Katayama said Isuzu was committed to growing its business in South Africa.
Katayama said: “This is the first commercial and light commercial vehicle manufacturing operation outside of Japan in which we have acquired a 100 per cent ownership. We are represented in 30 countries outside of Japan and successfully operate 47 manufacturing plants in these countries with joint venture partners.
“Our decision with regards to South Africa demonstrates the confidence we have in this market and is indicative of our longer-term view that South Africa will serve as an important base for our future growth on the African continent.”
Isuzu is making positive strides in Africa. A year ago, the company acquired a 57.7 per cent majority shareholding in the Kenyan truck and bus assembly operation, which supplies Isuzu vehicles to East African markets, while commanding a leading 34 per cent share of the Kenyan new vehicle market.
Isuzu also has a 20 per cent shareholding in joint venture manufacturing operations in Egypt, and where the company has led the market for 10 years in a row
Isuzu Motors South Africa Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director Michael Sacke said the company’s initial focus would be to fully consolidate its operations while laying the foundation for the company’s future success.
“Our short-term focus is on implementing our transitional plans, ensuring the sustainability of our operations, further strengthening our product portfolio and relocating the truck operations from Kempston Road to the Struandale plant. As we do this, we will need to demonstrate excellence in everything we do and the ability to lead in key segments of the market.”
He said in the medium term the company would need to plan for the successful launch of future products, implement measures to increase its domestic market share and increase its exports into sub-Saharan Africa markets.
Sacke said the company was already making good progress in achieving these objectives and that last year Isuzu trucks accounted for around 15per cent share of the medium and heavy commercial market, thus cementing its leadership position in these segments of the market for over five years in a row.