Isuzu Trucks South Africa (ITSA) had recovered completely from the effects of the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan last year, causing havoc with global truck supply chains.
ITSA lost around 400 unit sales in 2011 owing to the natural disaster.
ITSA COO Craig Uren said on Tuesday that ITSA had outperformed the truck market year to end June with sales up 17% compared with last year. The local arm of the Japanese truck maker also saw market share increase from 10.5% last year to a current level of 11.8%.
Uren said the local truck market had notched up growth of 6% for the year to the end of June.
He added that ITSA had made gains in all segments of the truck market, with year to end June market share in medium commercial vehicles at 19.5%, compared with 16.2% for 2011.
In the heavy truck segment, market share was flat, at 22.3%, and in the extra-heavy truck segment ITSA had secured 3.3% of the market, up from 2.8% in 2011.
“We are still earning our stripes in this market,” said Uren.
He added that only some of ITSA’s 2012 volumes were overflow from a somewhat bleak 2011, and that the company was “close to where it should be”.
“We have fully recovered from the effects of the tsunami, with production at 100% since November last year.”
ITSA assembled its trucks in the Eastern Cape.
Uren also noted that ITSA had now reached critical mass in the local market. In the ten years before the formation of ITSA, from 1997 to 2006, 15 700 Isuzu trucks were sold in South Africa. In the last five years since the formation of ITSA, the company had managed to sell 86% of this ten-year volume, which was indicative of positive momentum.
The total local Isuzu truck parc now reached 45 000 units, which Uren regarded as a “fundamental feature” of the company’s business model.
“We are now at the volume we need to be to ensure we are a sustainable player and that our dealers keep on going.”
Newcomer products to the Isuzu stable in 2012 were a new FX 360 hp tipper and concrete mixer, available from August. Products that surprised ITSA to upside had been strong sales of crew cabs and 4x4 models, with the latter finding niche popularity in the leisure camping market as bakkie substitutes.
Uren said he expected the 2012 South African truck market to reach around 28 000 units, with most of this replacement vehicles from the boom cycle seen four to five years ago.
“A truck market between 25 000 and 30 000 units is a fair truck market for South Africa.”
Uren said the 2013 truck market should largely perform in line with the 2012 market. However, he added that South Africa “was always at risk of some global event”.
• ITSA welcomed a new CEO in June, with Hiroshi Nishizaka now at the helm of the company.