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Isuzu makes a splash in the Eastern Cape

In the Wild Coast region, where very poor roads and rough conditions are the norm, Isuzu trucks are valued for their ruggedness and reliability.

Since the introduction of the first Isuzu truck in 1975, Isuzu trucks have become a familiar feature on South African roads. Isuzu has been the top truck brand in terms of sales in South Africa for the past nine consecutive years in the medium- and heavy-duty segments of the truck market.

According to a statement by the company, this makes Isuzu trucks an integral part of South Africa’s economy. While other regions in the country may have many options for transportation of goods, one area, the Wild Coast in the Eastern Cape, seems to have a singular preference for the Isuzu F-Series Truck.

In this region, which is made up of rural villages spanning the region from the Kei River to the Mkambati River, most transportation of goods from small towns to these villages is undertaken on gravel roads that are in a condition that leaves much to be desired.

“The roads in our region are very bad and can be a serious challenge when it rains. The progress is slow, so we have to work long hours. I transport sand, and other building material. I often start my day at 3am and work well past sunset,” says local businessperson and F-Series truck owner, Mzukisi Mesani.

Local businesswoman Vuyelwa Ntsendwana, who has been running a shop in Gqunqe village since the early 1980s, says: “We bought our first Isuzu truck in 1984 and it quickly became an indispensable resource for everyone in this village. These trucks are essential because the rain makes our roads very bad. We need the trucks to deliver crushed stone, sand, water and stock for the shop. Isuzu is preferred for these conditions because it’s powerful and reliable.”

Tim Hendon, senior manager of marketing at ROFA, says Isuzu trucks have an excellent reputation in some of the most difficult operational regions of the country. “The F-Series Trucks are uniquely suited to South African conditions due to the robust engineering and quality-focused assembly processes at Isuzu. The engineering team in Gqeberha continually tests and develops these vehicles to ensure reliability and minimise downtime for operators.”

Isuzu offers a broad range of locally assembled trucks, including the N-Series with 23 models, F-Series with 24 models, and FX-Series with 11 models. An additional 12 models are available as truck-tractor conversions.

F Series
The Isuzu F-Series range of trucks have been specifically designed to carry freight, for medium-haul distances and offroad applications.

According to the manufacturer, this series has been designed for reliability, durability and eco-friendliness. The series has produced trucks with ample power. For urban delivery, the four-cylinder HK1-TCC/TCS diesel engine can produce up to 154kW of power at 2 600 rpm and torque of 637Nm at 1 600 rpm to 2 600 rpm.

For longer hauls, the six-cylinder HK1-TCN/ TCS diesel engine has a capacity of 7 790cc,
and can deliver power of up to 176kW at 2 400 rpm, and torque of 706Nm at 1 450 rpm to 2 400 rpm.

All F-Series models come standard with an anti-lock braking system, anti-slip regulator and power steering. In terms of transmission, the clutch is hydraulic air-assisted. The AMT models include a hydraulically controlled wet clutch, which makes the truck easier to manage and operate, while improving safety and preventing missed gear changes, enabling the driver to give more attention to the road, the company said.

Other safety features include hill start assist, which prevents the truck from rolling backwards (very useful when fully loaded), and an automatic backing safety system. Speed is also regulated at 80km/h, and the cab’s rigid and ‘boxy’ design allows for high visibility.

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