10, 50, 100 and counting
Long-standing respect and admiration on the part of both Isuzu Truck South Africa and its agricultural customers has paved the way for future relationships.
This is a big year for Nampo and Isuzu Trucks alike. The former celebrated its 50th anniversary, while Isuzu Truck South Africa (as an independent entity) turns ten and its parent company, Isuzu Motors Japan, celebrates its 100th birthday. This is the type of endurance that appeals to the agricultural sector …
Lisa van Aswegen, customer care and marketing manager at Isuzu Truck South Africa, agrees. “There is a lot of brand strength with Isuzu Trucks,” she notes. “Farmers want products that are tried, trusted and reliable – they are very loyal to a brand and I find we have a very good record of reliability among them.
“Many farmers have been very loyal to Isuzu bakkies over the years and have supported the truck brand right from the old SBR and the JCR models. They’ve progressed with us because they trust the reliability of the brand,” Van Aswegen says.
It’s no surprise, then, that the vehicles on the Isuzu Trucks stand at Nampo 2016 were applicable to the farming community – and priced to go.
“Farmers come here looking for a good deal. The FXR 17.360 double-deck sheep carrier has been sold on the show. With this model you have the option of putting a drawbar trailer behind it, and farmers like it because it has sufficient power to do the job,” Van Aswegen explains.
Also on the stand was the FTR 850 AMT with a grain body. “There has also been a lot of interest around this combination, because, over the years, the farmers have become accustomed to the AMT technology. They are asking for it more and more.”
The piece de resistance was undoubtedly the NPS 300 4×4, which has been used for two years as a support vehicle at the Dakar rally. “This truck has gone straight from production line to finish line at Dakar with no modifications. The members of Team Ride SA, who had it as their support vehicle, were on the stand on Tuesday – they were amazed with the NPS 300’s 4×4 abilities on the rugged Dakar terrain.
“If it’s tried at Dakar, believe me there is not a Free State farm on which it will get stuck!” laughs
While many of these three models are sold into the sector, Van Aswegen explains that the smaller N-series is also popular with the farming community for smaller jobs on the farm, or for going into town with smaller loads. “Much of what we sell into the industry is also sold into related industries that support the sector,” adds Van Aswegen.
Of course, a good truck is one thing, but farmers understand what it costs to run their vehicles … In addition to buying a cost-effective vehicle with good fuel consumption, they also consider economical cost of operation.
“It’s not only about buying and selling trucks; we add value to the whole life of the truck. The farmers see the full picture and where our value chain can be of benefit to them,” Van Aswegen explains, detailing the suite of support offered by Isuzu Trucks.
“We need to add value to their business, so we look at providing bodies made from lighter materials without compromising on their strength, which will add extra payload capability. In addition to KANU/ACT, we collaborate with many body builders all around the country who have the expertise in specific bodies to give the customer the best deal.
“We are in charge of the quality control and the supply chain so the end product is of Isuzu Trucks quality. That sells confidence in the Isuzu Trucks brand through the supply chain,” she says.
Beyond the purchase, the Isuzu Trucks service and maintenance plans present a “budget” figure that allows the customer to see upfront what it’ll cost to run that truck.
“We’ve given consideration to the rates, because we have good history of the cost per kilometre. There are off-the-shelf plans and if there is a specific operation, that has either very high or low kilometres, we custom-make the package specific to the application.”
Related to this is the Isuzu Trucks genuine parts scheme, which aims to make genuine aftermarket parts affordable. For those who have used trucks, or have an older fleet, the brand’s drivetrain remanufacturing joint venture ensures further quality through the supply chain. The components carry warranties and are manufactured to the Isuzu Trucks factory standards.
“We’ve assessed our dealer footprint throughout the country and where our trucks are running, and we have strategically placed our approved truck service centres to cover the gaps. These are able to service vehicles and attend to breakdowns in remote areas,” Van Aswegen continues, before asking a pertinent question.
“Why do customers buy an Isuzu truck? They are buying a relationship; a full service package with the truck, aftersales support, value-adds and the relationship of trust. It’s a give-and-take relationship – we might need to provide a solution to a unique operation and here we collaborate with the customer to give the best for the application.
“We’re with this sector for the long run – through good and bad times,” she says with the confidence that comes from a 100-year history.