Although it has only the Isuzu D-Max Artic to formally launch this year (and a few minor tweaks to MU-X), it is not as if Isuzu plan on sitting back to watch the world go by.

“This will be a year of consolidation and building on our customer service experience,” says Craig Uren, Senior Vice-President Revenue Generation. The commercial vehicle market is still finding its feet post-Covid but volumes in total were slightly up last year amidst a wealth of challenges.

“The industry and its customers have been challenged every year for some time going from the microchip shortages through load shedding to the recent ports congestion crisis ad all of these, one on top the other, make it very difficult for everyone.

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Looking at a broader picture, CEO Billy Tom said: “Loadshedding meant Isuzu had to invest massively in generators, but the plant works on a ‘just-in-time’ supply process and many of suppliers simply cannot afford the huge investment in industrial generation so, even though we could keep the plant running, when the parts stock runs out we have to shut down.

“Parts supply is even more of a challenge and there is no way we can mitigate against the backlog at the ports. We have had to re-route some shipments to Durban and then truck them back down to Gqeberha, adding additional cost pressures to our operation.”

Colin Windell