• Thursday, July 18, 2024
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BusinessDay

GM’s new Isuzu Pick-up breaks cover in S/A

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 A select team of motoring journalists from leading newspapers in Africa including BusinessDay Nigeria are now in Hoedspruit, Limpopo Province, South Africa for the historic launch of the 6th generation Isuzu pick-up which has been described by the automaker as a major milestone for General Motors in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The new Isuzu Pick-up offers the best of all worlds in terms of off-road and smooth surface drivability. It has comfort, packed with array of safety features and delivers well at top speeds. For years, the brand has been famous for its rugged, robust reliability, and this superb new pick-up continues that tradition. The 6th Generation Isuzu Pick-up opens a whole world of lifestyle possibilities, while staying true to the heritage of the past.

Automakers describe it as a brilliant all-rounder, combining the brand’s traditional durability with exciting design, interior comfort and impressive off-road capability.

For the first time in the company’s history, its manufacturing operations in South Africa will build the Pick-up in both left and right hand drive derivatives, opening up opportunities for export into various markets within the Sub-Saharan Africa region. Nigeria targeted as one of the markets with huge potentials.

The new Pick-up, built according to local market specification requirements, will be launched in both left and right hand drive markets across Sub-Saharan Africa during the course of 2013. The initial roll-out will commence in South Africa followed by the South East Africa markets of Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Zambia, Malawi, Seychelles and Mauritius. Markets in East Africa and in the high potential left-hand drive markets of countries such as Angola and Nigeria will follow later in the year.

BusinessDay reliably gathered that a range of 16 different models will be launched into various markets (outside of South Africa), covering 13 diesel and 3 petrol models. Specific model line-up and pricing details will be made available at time of launch in the relevant markets.

Company sources say the latest Isuzu Pick-up represents the last phase of a R1 billion investment at its South African manufacturing operations in three new vehicle assembly programmes which started with the Chevrolet Utility and the Spark.

“Isuzu represents our biggest, most important launch in Sub-Saharan Africa. There is no doubt that the growth in Africa’s workforce and increased urbanisation rates will spur on additional infrastructural investment and will result in increased consumer spending and transportation of people and goods.

According to the African Development Bank, only 60% of Africa’s population has access to safe water, 40% to safe sanitation, 30% to electricity and 30% of the rural population to good roads. As governments move to address these needs through infrastructural investment projects, this will in particular stimulate demand for light commercial vehicles, BusinessDay motoring reporter was told in Limpopo province.

In the African region, road transport has accounted for the largest portion, almost 46% of infrastructural investment into roads, ports etc, on the continent adding that General Motors is positioning itself to meet the transportation needs in these markets with unique product offerings from Chevrolet and Isuzu.

General Motors have recently consolidated its operations in Africa placing the global automaker in a strong position to expand on a continent which has tremendous long-term potential for vehicle sales growth. During the past three to four years, the company has been developing plans to get the right distribution network in place and to correctly align its product portfolio and to establish a strong service and support infrastructure for our customers.

Equally important is that General Motors have done a lot of work with Isuzu to lay the foundation for the successful expansion and growth of the next generation pick-up in the region.

By consolidating its Africa Operations, GM is looking to leverage its resources and to start building momentum in order to grow its business with distributors who operate across North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa.

GM does business in more than 50 markets in Africa, and has manufacturing operations in South Africa, Egypt and Kenya. In 2012, the company sold over 180,000 vehicles in Africa, an increase of 17.5 percent from the previous year. Over 100,000 vehicles were sold in North Africa and the balance in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Egypt is GM Africa’s highest volume market in North Africa with other key markets including Algeria, Morocco and Libya whereas South Africa is the biggest market in Sub-Saharan Africa and high potential markets include Angola, Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Senegal, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

In East Africa, where the Isuzu brand is strong, the company’s market share grew from 25% in 2011 to 26% last year, ensuring our number one position in this market.

 

MIKE OCHONMA,

Hoedspruit, S/Africa