Since its introduction into the UK market in 1996, Isuzu Truck has led the way in the manufacture of commercial diesel engines – echoing the company’s worldwide success.
Isuzu operates in 130 countries and is continuing to grow in the UK. This growth is set to continue following the introduction of the company’s all-new 3.5t Grafter Green range.
David Slatcher, Municipal Fleet Sales Manager at Isuzu Truck UK, spoke to Business Britain about the range, its suitability for construction and municipal markets, and the company’s future growth plans.
This is an extract of the full interview, which will appear in the next issue of Transport Britain.
Looking at the commercial side of the business, do you see interest from the likes of municipal companies, and how do you go about securing sales?
We do a bit of everything to secure sales; our diversity in this sense gives us a unique selling point to clients.
At Isuzu Truck, we have a product range that lends itself to high payloads and durability, as well as low ownership costs in weight sectors such as 7.5 tonnes.
This has provided a gateway into sectors including construction and waste management – who need refuse trucks for their municipal areas.
We have added to that product range more recently by launching a new 3.5 tonne vehicle that will provide significant growth opportunities for us in municipal and other related sectors because of its new features, light weight and improved handling. The engine is Euro-6 compliant and, importantly, the vehicle does not require AdBlue to run. This ticks a box for operators who run large fleets but don’t want the added costs associated with vehicles that use AdBlue.
What is the name of that vehicle?
To denote the environmental features of the range, we have named it the Grafter Green.
How did the Grafter Green vehicle come to market?
Our range previously had a truck that was Euro-5B compliant. As such, with the upgrade of regulations, we knew a new vehicle was needed.
Another element in our decision-making was the feedback we’ve received from operators and drivers who noted that the previous vehicle didn’t have the kind of ride and handling required by the sector. Feedback is crucial for us, as we want to get everything right for our clients and we fed this information back to our head office in Japan, which resulted in the creation of a 3.5t vehicle with a new engine, improved suspension and a brand-new gearbox.
The Grafter Green’s engine is a new 1.9 litre diesel model that is lighter than the old 3.0 litre engine but offers more torque. The weight savings achieved by the new engine and lack of AdBlue tank alone make the Grafter Green one of the most efficient vehicles in its class.
We have also upgraded the front suspension and steering on the vehicle, resulting in a better ride and handling – two features we were keen to improve.
As a result of these improvement, we’re one of the few manufacturers in the 3.5 tonne chassis cab sector that has actually increased its market share recently.
It is, we hope, the start of a real success story.
How has your customer base changed over time in the UK?
In our key markets of construction and municipal, we’ve been established for a long time. Construction clients know our robust chassis will give long life expectancy and a competitive cost of ownership.
However, we are looking to develop into other key sectors such as the large volume market, which is another of the reasons why we developed the Grafter Green.
What do your customers say is the biggest benefit of Isuzu’s range?
Generally speaking, our customers benefit from excellent payload capacity and outstanding reliability; our vehicles are proven to be strong and robust over the long term.
Is there anything else you’d like to mention?
We have a great deal of confidence in the products we provide to the marketplace – our full manufacturer-backed unlimited mileage warranty is a testament to this.
We also operate a network of dealers specialising in sales, service and parts across the UK, which gives us a much greater reach to potential clients and existing customers.
No matter the size of client – whether a one-man band or a fleet customer running hundreds of vehicles – the care and attention provided remains the same.
At Isuzu our service to customers is encapsulated by the CARE acronym: it symbolises that we are Customer-facing; Always listening; Reliable and trustworthy; Efficient and friendly.
Our unique approach to customer care helps us stand out in the UK commercial vehicle market, and CARE is a philosophy that we will continue to develop as our vehicle range and customer base grows.
The full interview will appear in the next Transport Britain publication.