General Motors South Africa (GMSA) has exported its first shipment of 60 Isuzu KB pick-ups to Kenya.
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% share of the new light commercial vehicle market.
GMSA exports manager and East Africa MD Rita Kavashe says 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-genera- tion Isuzu KB commences at the com- pany’s Struandale facility next year, this will represent the first time that the vehicle will be built [locally] 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 coun- tries like Angola and Nigeria.”
Kavashe says GMSA is working closely with Isuzu Motors Company to leverage 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 for our customers.”
Increased export volumes will ensure that the company reaches the incentive threshold under government’s new Auto- motive Production and Development Plan of 50 000 units a year, which comes into effect in 2013.
According to the International Monetary Fund, Africa is the fastest-growing region in the world, notes Kavashe, with its gross domestic product jumping an average of 5.5% a year between 2000 and 2012, compared with a global average of 4.4%.
“We are implementing aggressive measures to ensure that we are able to grow our vehicle sales volumes as the economies in these countries grow.
“With all the development happening in sub-Saharan Africa as countries improve road infrastructure, agriculture and invest in the construction of new buildings, there is opportunity to sell our tough commercial vehicles in these markets,” she says.
The Isuzu KB has a production history in Port Elizabeth that spans 40 years.
GMSA is 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 com- pany’s production lines later this month, and the sixth-generation Isuzu KB, which is set to be launched in sub-Saharan Africa during the first half of 2013.