NELSON Mandela Bay Executive Mayor Eugene Johnson visited Isuzu Motors South Africa’s Manufacturing plant recently to preview the R1.2-billion investment which will see the new generation Isuzu D-MAX, and truck upgrades, launched this year.
New production lines have been constructed over the past two years to ready the production facilities for the construction of the brand-new Isuzu light commercial and heavy commercial vehicles.
The investment also involves significant upgrades to tooling and equipment, as well as refurbishing the current line to support an extension in the manufacturing of current Isuzu models. In addition to the upskilling and training of staff, Isuzu has also embarked on rigorous testing of vehicles to ensure Isuzu’s promise of producing durable, reliable, and capable vehicles re-engineered for African driving conditions.
Billy Tom, President and CEO of Isuzu Motors South Africa, updated the mayoral delegation on the progress made on the investment, including upgrades to the manufacturing plant to meet the new vehicle requirements and the state of readiness to launch exciting new Isuzu products into the market.
“The R1.2-billion investment into Isuzu’s next-generation bakkie programme in South Africa, for the South African and Rest of Africa markets, is one of the reasons the manufacturer has been able to secure about 1,000 jobs directly at Isuzu’s operations in Gqeberha, and across its national and international dealer network, as well as around 25,000 jobs at hundreds of suppliers across the country,” said Tom.
Johnson said, “As a key revenue generator, the automotive sector is one of the most important industries for us as a metro. We need this industry, with a strong revenue from companies like Isuzu it means we can secure jobs and our citizens’ livelihoods”.
South Africa is the 18th largest manufacturer of vehicles in the world and the automotive industry is the third largest sector in South Africa, contributing 5.7% of the national GDP. The country produces 80% of Africa’s vehicle output.
“As a company which was established in 2018, we have shown resilience and commitment during one of the toughest global times,” said Tom. “We remain dedicated to the community within which we operate and strive to increase our growth and footprint into the African markets from the shores of the Nelson Mandela Metro.”
In 2021 Isuzu maintained an automotive industry-leading Level One in its Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) audit for a second consecutive year and has consistently increased market share year-on-year, achieving 16.4% year-to-date.
Towards the end of last year Isuzu launched the new seven-seater mu-X SUV. The new Isuzu D-MAX bakkie will be launched in the first quarter of this year, with the launch of Isuzu’s next-generation trucks following shortly thereafter – all locally manufactured in Gqeberha.