Isuzu has made a number of key appointments to lead its newly formed SA operation.Photo: Supplied
CAPE TOWN - ISUZU Motors SA, the newly established company that is acquiring General Motors SA’s (GMSA's) light commercial vehicle operations in the country, views South Africa as a key growth market for the Japanese vehicle manufacturer.

Haruyasu Tanishige, the senior executive officer for the sales division of Isuzu Motors in Japan, has been appointed Isuzu Motors SA chairperson. He will not relinquish his current position and will continue to be based in Tokyo at Isuzu’s headquarters.

Tanishige said South Africa was the first market outside of Japan where Isuzu had acquired 100% ownership of its manufacturing and distribution operations.

“We view South Africa as a key market for future growth and will be looking to maximise the benefits of integrating our light commercial and truck businesses together,” he said.

Tanishige said it was premature to comment on Isuzu’s future plans in South Africa because the new company would only be fully operational from January.

However, Tanishige said Isuzu Motors saw opportunities to strengthen and grow its base in South Africa.

“Our immediate priorities, though, will be to ensure the successful establishment of the company while at the same time strengthening our support to customers,” he said.

This week the new company appointed GMSA chief financial officer Michael Sacke as chief executive and managing director of the company effective from January.

However, Sacke has with immediate effect been appointed chief operations officer and chief financial officer of GMSA to take over responsibility for the transition of GMSA’s operations to Isuzu Motors by year-end while also ensuring the integration of the Isuzu truck and light commercial businesses. 

This follows GM appointing its sub-Saharan Africa president and managing director Ian Nicholls as president of GM Southeast Asia from next month.

Sacke’s appointment was one of a number of key leadership appointments announced by Isuzu Motors SA this week.

Tanishige said Sacke had had a long association with Isuzu Motors, including serving as a board member of Isuzu Trucks SA for the past nine years. "He will play a key role in ensuring the successful transition of the South African operations to the new Isuzu business,” he said.

Isuzu vehicles have had a presence in South Africa since assembly began more than 44 years ago.

Sales of the Isuzu KB bakkie have increased 7.6% year-on-year in the first seven months of this year and Isuzu has for the past four years occupied the top position in the medium and heavy-duty commercial truck segment of the South African market.

-BUSINESS REPORT