I­su­zu Mo­tors SA of­fi­ci­al­ly laun­ched

George Herald - Auto Dealer - - Auto Dealer -

I­su­zu Mo­tors an­noun­ced the of­fi­ci­al launch of its bu­si­ness o­pe­ra­ti­ons in South A­fri­ca. This fol­lows the an­noun­ce­ment la­te last y­e­ar that it would pur­cha­se the lig­ht com­mer­ci­al vehi­cle o­pe­ra­ti­ons in Port E­li­za­beth and al­so the ba­lan­ce of share­hol­ding in its I­su­zu Trucks South A­fri­ca.

The e­vent was held last week at the ma­nu­fac­tu­ring plant in S­tru­an­da­le, Port E­li­za­beth. P­re­si­dent and re­pre­sen­ta­ti­ve di­rec­tor of I­su­zu Mo­tors of Ja­pan, Ma­sa­no­ri Ka­ta­ya­ma, said that I­su­zu was com­mit­ted to gro­wing its bu­si­ness in South A­fri­ca. “This is the first com­mer­ci­al and lig­ht com­mer­ci­al vehi­cle ma­nu­fac­tu­ring o­pe­ra­ti­on out­si­de of Ja­pan in which we ha­ve a­cqui­red a 100% o­w­ners­hip. We are re­pre­sen­ted in 30 coun­tries out­si­de of Ja­pan and success­ful­ly o­pe­ra­te 47 ma­nu­fac­tu­ring plants in the­se coun­tries with joint ven­tu­re part­ners.

“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,” he said.

I­su­zu is ma­king po­si­ti­ve stri­des in A­fri­ca and a y­e­ar ago the com­pa­ny a­cqui­red a 57,7% ma­jo­ri­ty share­hol­ding in the Ke­ny­an truck and bus as­sem­bly o­pe­ra­ti­on, which sup­plies I­su­zu vehi­cles to East A­fri­can mar­kets.

I­su­zu al­so has a 20% share­hol­ding in a joint ven­tu­re ma­nu­fac­tu­ring o­pe­ra­ti­on, in Egypt, w­he­re the com­pa­ny has led the mar­ket for 10 y­e­ars. The lig­ht com­mer­ci­al vehi­cle pickup that is pro­du­ced the­re and which ac­counts for o­ver 90% share of the mar­ket seg­ment, is de­ri­ved from the I­su­zu KB pick-up.

Al­so spea­king at the launch e­vent, I­su­zu Mo­tors South A­fri­ca CEO and MD Mi­cha­el Sac­ke said that the com­pa­ny’s i­ni­ti­al fo­cus would be to ful­ly con­so­li­da­te its o­pe­ra­ti­ons whi­le laying the foun­da­ti­on for the com­pa­ny’s fu­tu­re success.

“Our short-term fo­cus is on im­ple­menting our tran­si­ti­o­nal plans, en­su­ring the sus­tai­na­bi­li­ty of our o­pe­ra­ti­ons, furt­her streng­the­ning our pro­duct port­fo­lio and re­lo­ca­ting the truck o­pe­ra­ti­ons from Kempston Ro­ad to the S­tru­an­da­le plant. As we do this, we will need to de­mon­stra­te ex­cel­len­ce in e­ver­y­thing we do and the a­bi­li­ty to le­ad in key seg­ments of the mar­ket.”

He said that in the me­di­um term the com­pa­ny would need to plan for the success­ful launch of fu­tu­re pro­ducts, im­ple­ment me­a­su­res to in­cre­a­se its do­mes­tic mar­ket share and in­cre­a­se its ex­ports in­to Sub-Sa­ha­ran A­fri­ca mar­kets.

Sac­ke said that the com­pa­ny was al­re­a­dy ma­king good pro­gress in a­chie­ving the­se ob­jecti­ves and that last y­e­ar I­su­zu trucks ac­coun­ted for a­round 15% of the me­di­um and he­a­vy com­mer­ci­al mar­ket, thus ce­menting its le­a­ders­hip po­si­ti­on in the­se seg­ments of the mar­ket for o­ver fi­ve y­e­ars in a row. “In 2017, and in an en­vi­ron­ment w­he­re we we­re tran­si­ti­o­ning our bu­si­ness to a new bu­si­ness mo­del, we grew our I­su­zu KB vo­lu­me by 14,8% ver­sus the sa­me pe­ri­od the pre­vi­ous y­e­ar. This ga­ve us a share of 14% in the pick-up D seg­ment of the mar­ket, thus de­mon­stra­ting the con­fi­den­ce that South A­fri­can con­su­mers ha­ve in our brand and vehi­cles.”

The Mi­nis­ter of Tra­de and In­du­stry, Dr Rob Da­vies, said that South A­fri­ca’s au­to­mo­ti­ve in­du­stry is a glo­bal, tur­bo-char­ged en­gi­ne for the ma­nu­fac­tu­re and ex­port of vehi­cles and com­po­nents. He said ma­ny of the ma­jor mul­ti­na­ti­o­nal firms use South A­fri­ca to sour­ce com­po­nents and as­sem­ble vehi­cles for the lo­cal and in­ter­na­ti­o­nal mar­kets.

“With its a­bi­li­ty to link throug­hout the e­co­nomy, the go­vern­ment has i­den­ti­fied the au­to­mo­ti­ve in­du­stry as a key gro­wth sec­tor. The au­to in­du­stry is im­por­tant to the fu­tu­re of ma­nu­fac­tu­ring in this coun­try and w­ha­te­ver e­mer­ges in the fu­tu­re will be ba­sed on a sig­ni­fi­cant le­vel of sup­port for it going for­ward. The sec­tor con­tri­bu­tes 7,5% of South A­fri­ca’s Gross Do­mes­tic Pro­duct and em­ploys a­bout 113 000 pe­op­le di­rect­ly. It is key to en­su­ring gre­a­ter e­co­no­mic gro­wth,” said Da­vies.

From left: am­bas­sa­dor of Ja­pan to South A­fri­ca S­hi­ge­yu­ki Hi­ro­ki, I­su­zu Mo­tors p­re­si­dent and di­rec­tor Ma­sa­no­ri Ka­ta­ya­ma, I­su­zu Mo­tors se­ni­or exe­cu­ti­ve of­fi­cer and I­su­zu Mo­tors South A­fri­ca chair­man Ha­ruy­a­su Ta­nis­hi­ge, and I­su­zu Mo­tors South A­fri­ca CEO and ma­na­ging di­rec­tor Mi­cha­el Sac­ke.

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