Isuzu Australia  has revealed it has recently conducted its regular market tracking survey, but this time it was set against the backdrop of the ever-changing COVID-19 pandemic situation, with the results reflecting the range of experience across the current environment for road transport industry operators.

The independent market research surveyed regional and metropolitan truck owners, fleet managers and business decision makers considering purchasing a truck for their business in the next 12 months. Spread across multiple vocations, those surveyed hailed from various industries including construction and logistics, through to the retail trade and hospitality.

The Isuzu survey was undertaken by Fiftyfive5, an independent strategy consultancy, with the key findings confirming the widespread impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the road transport sector.

The survey revealed that no less than 93 per cent of Australian truck-based operations have suffered an impact on their business as a result of the pandemic and ensuing public health measures.

Of those, 39 per cent described the disruption as ‘major,’ and one requiring systemic changes to business models and overall strategies.

Yet, despite the less than optimistic news, there was a silver lining in the form of stakeholder confidence, with 41 per cent of road transport respondents confident their businesses will survive and thrive post pandemic.

Interestingly, the survey found that truck operators are becoming increasingly reliant on a single brand to populate their fleet. Six in every ten owners (62 per cent of respondents) are opting to remain loyal to one brand across their operational fleet.

IAL head of marketing and customer experience, Mr John Walker, said the findings come at a critical time for the industry as it battles through unprecedented disturbance.

“Collating these findings has been an interesting and insightful exercise, given the current climate,” he said.

“One of the recurring themes we’ve seen come out of this report, is the desire for many to stick to proven, tested products they know and trust, especially during a time of upheaval.

“The report shows that brand trust, product quality and range are the key drivers of brand preference. This is closely followed by aftersales support, reliability and total cost of ownership propositions,” Mr Walker said.

Whilst the reporting period has been mired in broader industry disruptions, Isuzu Trucks again topped the charts in these critical preference indicators, building on positive past results in this space.

The brand also bettered its competitors in the areas of brand trust, perceptions of product value, and was viewed most favourably by respondents in regard to product range and suitability.

“There’s certainly a sense that disruption and uncertainty prompt a heightened sense of conservatism in consumers, especially in the case of capital equipment.

“This data helps to substantiate some of those foundation attributes that every buyer is looking for in a product. It’s perhaps amplified at this time, but ensuring our customers have a safe and predictable interaction with the product.

“It’s been useful to note some of the more subtle changes in industry sentiment since the onset of COVID-19. We can see that some businesses have undergone significant upheaval but maintain a positive outlook on the prospect of recovery.”

On the procurement front, the findings highlight that it is those foundational product attributes that are still the mostly highly regarded, in spite of significant economic and operational disruption.

“Critically too, they point to a consumer base that continues to value quality, reliability and top-shelf service – all traits we continually strive to perfect as the country’s top performing and highest selling truck brand,” Mr Walker concluded.