ON the back of an excellent year of Isuzu bakkie sales in Zimbabwe, the Minister of Industry and Commerce Mangaliso Ndlovu yesterday visited Isuzu’s production facility in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
Ndlovu is the first Zimbabwean dignitary to visit Isuzu Motors South Africa’s production facility in Struandale since it’s opening last year.
The visit by the Zimbabwean Minister comes at a time when a parastatal under his ministry, the Industrial Development Corporation (IDCZ) has started hunting for investors to take up shareholding in Willowvale Motor Industries (WMI) and Deven Engineering as the state-owned investment vehicle looks at focusing on its new development financing role.
As the second biggest export market of Isuzu Motors South Africa, Zimbabwe accounts for approximately 27 percent of all African exports, according to Isuzu.
“We welcome the Minister’s visit and the opportunity to showcase Isuzu’s capabilities in truck and light commercial vehicle production. Isuzu is an established brand in Zimbabwe and as the country embarks on infrastructure development, we are able to offer innovative solutions to meet their needs,” said Isuzu Motors South Africa executive: corporate affairs, business strategy and legal, Denise van Huyssteen.
Isuzu has been a consistent strong brand in Zimbabwe, achieving a 25 percent overall market share in 2018. Isuzu held a 35 percent share of the pick-up (bakkie) segment and was the best seller in the Double Cab and Extended Cab segments in 2018.
“Isuzu has had a presence in Zimbabwe for more than 30 years – selling bakkies, SUV’s, trucks and buses in the market. We value our relationships with all our Zimbabwean customers and see ourselves as a brand that can offer products and services that will meet their needs throughout their life-time,” said Van Huyssteen.
According to Van Huyssteen, a big part of the entrenched presence of Isuzu in Zimbabwe is due to the success story of Isuzu’s authorised dealership, Autoworld.
“Autoworld has been Isuzu’s number one export dealer for more than 10 years and has facilities in both Harare and Bulawayo employing more than 150 people. They are involved in various community projects and sponsors one of Zimbabwe’s top rugby clubs,” said Van Huyssteen.
IDCZ in collaboration with State Enterprises Restructuring Agency (SERA) is looking for strategic partners to dilute shareholding of Deven up to 74 percent and Willowvale 74 percent as well.