The launch of Isuzu Motors South Africa comes after General Motors’ disinvestment from the local market at the end of last year, and the subsequent sale of GM’s Struandale light vehicle plant in Port Elizabeth to Isuzu Motors SA.
Isuzu said it will continue to build its KB range of bakkies in Struandale, as well as an upcoming SUV called the MU-X.
The manufacture of Isuzu trucks, including the N, F and FX Series models will move from the current factory in Kempston Road to the same Struandale plant less than 10km away.
Isuzu can’t confirm how long the move will take but says the consolidation process could take at least a year.
Isuzu currently operates 47 manufacturing plants outside of Japan as part of joint ventures, but the Struandale facility is now the only commercial/light commercial factory running under 100 percent ownership of Isuzu Japan.
“Our decision with regards to South Africa demonstrates the confidence we have in this market and also is indicative of our longer-term view that South Africa will serve as an important base for our future growth on the African continent,” said Isuzu President Masanori Katayama.
All Isuzu vehicles built in Port Elizabeth are sold in South Africa, and are also exported to sub-Saharan Africa.
Speaking at last week’s official launch of Isuzu Motors South Africa held in Port Elizabeth, Isuzu Motors South Africa CEO and MD Michael Sacke said that last year Isuzu trucks accounted for around 15% share of SA’s medium and heavy commercial market, thus cementing its leadership position in these segments of the market for over five years in a row.