Market leader Isuzu has backed away from its well publicised views it was spruking last year, regarding the fear that the market would fall in a hole when the instant asset write off ends on June 30 this year.
Instead Isuzu executives including COO Andrew Harbison believe the continuing need for trucks to fulfil freight construction and service tasks will see order books remain strong well into 2024 despite the end of the tax write off next month.
Speaking at a media briefing the night before the Brisbane Truck Show opened Harbison and his team, including newly appointed manager of sales and after sales, Ben Lasry, say that the order demand shows no sign of diminishing any time soon, even with the spectre of rising interest rates continuing to slow other parts of the economy.
“Our order rate is continuing at record levels and we don’t see any reason why it is going to slow at this point in time,” said Andrew Harbison.
“Certainly the end of the instant asset written off has not need the problem we thought it would be,” he added.
“The fact is people need trucks and despite some infrastructure projects being trimmed there is still a massive pipeline of work underway and that all needs trucks, the freight task hasn’t diminished and the economy remains busy, when you need a truck , you need a truck,’ the said.
Heading into the Brisbane Truck Show and toward the mid point of the year Isuzu sales volume is continuing at record levels, better tin the numbers it achieved in 2o22 when it astounded everyone with a sales record almost 40 per cent more than its previous best.
The major focus at the Brisbane show and in the media briefing it gave the trade press prior to opening day was the appearance of the company’s first ever battery electric truck, which had its global debut only weeks earlier in Japan. The Isuzu Elf Electric is basically the next gen N Series Isuzu but with an electric driveline sourced from European transmission and driveline specialist ZF.
With rival Hino still years away from a pure battery electric driveline and spruiking a hybrid solution for the time being and with Daimler owned Fuso about to launch its second gen e Canter, the tie up with ZF to provide its new electric driveline has perhaps allowed Isuzu to speed top the development and availability of an electric city delivery truck without devoting enormous resources to the program.
Isuzu also showed media images of its next gen heavy duty models which will be a shared design with its relatively new subsidiary UD. However a battle is looming about access to the flagship engine that UD will use in its new model, which just happens to be the Volvo sourced 13 litre diesel engine. The question on everyone’s lips, not least those of Isuzu Australia management, is will Volvo allow its engine to be fitted too Isuzus sold in Australia, where Volvo will retain distribution of the UD brand. Those negotiations could prove interesting and just a little bit tricky over time, for without the Volvo 13 litre Isuzu Australia might have to source a Cummins engine to deliver a 13 litre/500 hp power plant for its heavy duty customers.