The medium truck market is a fiercely competitive segment where many new competitors try to enter on price. But price alone does not counter the effects of matching the demand for parts, service, innovation and lowest cost of ownership.
And the medium truck market of 3 500kg to 8 500kg GVM took a knock during the 2008 financial crisis when sales fell dramatically from 2007 figures of 15 168 to 7 227 in 2009 – a drop of 52,3%.
To illustrate the impact, Table 1 shows the trend from 2006 to 2014: Against this backdrop, the medium truck market has increased in the past four years by 19,4%, while Isuzu N-Series model unit volumes have grown from 1 440 in 2011 to 2 300 units in 2014 – a growth of 59,7%.
The success of the Isuzu N-Series is reflected in this four-year trend of continuous growth – Table 2 (below). Today one in five new medium trucks on the road is an Isuzu N-Series model.
The annual market for medium trucks over the last two years declined by 4,9%, but Isuzu N-Series volumes grew against the trend by 3,1%. A remarkable product range is at the core of Isuzu N-Series success.
12 Isuzu N-Series models to choose from, from 4 200kg to 8 500kg GVM
There are 12 Isuzu N-Series models to choose from, ranging from 4 200kg to 8 500kg GVM, including three crew cab models and two 4x4s. Eight of the 12 Isuzu N-Series are equipped with automated manual transmissions (AMT) – a hallmark technical feature that has been an outstanding success for Isuzu Truck.
With the Isuzu N-Series, Isuzu was the first truck manufacturer to introduce the AMT into the medium truck segment. While AMTs had been a technical characteristic of the extra-heavy truck segment over 16,5t GVM, this had stayed in that segment only until the appearance of the Isuzu N-series with AMT.
The benefits of AMT are so considerable that it has started to outstrip the demand for Isuzu N-Series with manual transmissions – 64,4% of Isuzu N-Series sales are AMT equipped models and a major reason for the growth behind N-Series sales.
AMT is also reducing the demand for driver training as drivers now focus on the road environment around them in heavy traffic instead of the constant, tiring need for synchronising clutchpedal operation and gear shifts. Isuzu turbocharged and inter-cooled common rail diesel engines provide consistent power at any altitude.
Combine this with the seamless benefits of AMT, that also incorporates an econo-button for those empty return trips, and Isuzu N-Series fleet operators experience the full benefits of Isuzu driveline technology.
Many Isuzu N-Series trucks are operating in high annual distance courier applications. Isuzu’s bold step of increasing Isuzu N-Series service intervals to 20 000km lowers the cost of ownership and keeps wheels on the road. Add to this a two year unlimited distance warranty and many Isuzu N-Series models cover as much as 200 000km in the warranty period and with only 10 service days off the road.
Isuzu N-Series trucks operate in heavy distribution traffic without any vehicle safety compromise.
Isuzu N-Series trucks operate in heavy distribution traffic without any vehicle safety compromise. Active safety features, such as ABS braking systems, abound, while passive safety is catered for by seat belts for all crew members – especially in the six-crew-plus-driver N-Series crew cab models. Isuzu Truck enjoy a big existing brand population that makes all 35 dealers viable in terms of parts and service.
The current success and volumes of new N-Series is enhancing parts and service success. The final word goes to Isuzu Truck SA Chief Operations Officer, Craig Uren: “We are essentially a parts and service support organisation that also sells Isuzu trucks!”