General Motors South Africa (GMSA) exported its first shipment of Isuzu KB light commercial vehicles (LCV) to Kenya over the weekend. Kenya is the latest addition to the company’s existing right hand drive export markets of Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi and Mauritius.
The Isuzu brand is already well established in Kenya where last year it achieved a 30 per cent share of the new light commercial vehicle segment market.
According to Rita Kavashe, Managing Director of East Africa and GMSA Exports Manager, the expansion of exports of the locally assembled Isuzu KB into key Sub-Saharan Africa markets will continue to build momentum over the coming months.
“When production of the new generation Isuzu KB commences at the company’s Struandale facility next year, this will represent the first time that the vehicle will be built in both right and left hand drive. This will open up new opportunities for us to export the Isuzu KB beyond our existing markets to rapidly growing countries like Angola and Nigeria.”
She emphasised that, according to the International Monetary Fund, Africa was the fastest growing region in the world with its GDP growing an average of 5.5 percent a year between 2000 and 2012, compared to a global average of 4.4 percent. “We are implementing aggressive measures to ensure that we are able to grow our vehicle sales volumes, as the economies in these countries grow.”
Kavashe said that there were opportunities in the short to medium term to expand export markets for the Isuzu KB in Sub-Saharan Africa. “To this end we are working closely with Isuzu Motors Company to leverage our resources to robustly grow our footprint in key markets. Key to achieving this is strengthening our distribution network, improving logistics efficiencies, ensuring that the right product portfolio is in place and providing excellent after sales support to our customers.”
These increased export volumes will ensure that the company achieves the government’s Automotive Production and Development Plan (APDP) production volume of 50 000 units per annum which comes into effect in 2013. “With all the development happening in SSA as countries improve road infrastructure, agriculture and invest in construction of new buildings, there is opportunity to sell our tough commercial vehicles in these markets,” said Kavashe.
The Isuzu KB has a production history that dates back 40 years at the Port Elizabeth plant and produced more than half a million units since 1972. Known for durability and reliability the new Isuzu promises an extensive line-up across all three body styles and is the ideally suited for the rugged Africa terrain said Kavashe.
“The Isuzu name is recognised worldwide for its leadership and innovation and at GM SSA we are proud to be part of the international leading brand,” added Kavashe.
General Motors South Africa is currently investing R1 billion in its three new vehicle assembly programmes which include the Chevrolet Utility which came on stream at the end of last year, the new Spark which will roll off the company’s production lines later this month and the 6th generation Isuzu KB which is set to be launched in Sub-Saharan Africa during the first half of 2013.