Still packing the heaviest punches

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Text and photos by Aries B. Espinosa

NO ONE was probably holding their breath when the joint sales figures of the Truck Manufacturers Association (TMA) and the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. (CAMPI) for 2019 came out.

As expected, Isuzu Philippines Corp. (IPC) packed the heaviest punches in overall truck sales, cornering 45% of the market in the combined Category 3 (light duty), 4 (medium) and 5 (heavy) truck sales for the period from January to December 2019. That meant, of the 14,049 brand-new trucks sold during the year in the country, 6,279 came from IPC, for a 44.7% share of the overall market.

IPC’s 2019 sales performance officially extends the Japanese truck maker’s winning streak in overall truck sales to 20 years, dating back to 2000. This also marks the 21st consecutive year that IPC tops Category 3 sales, and the 23rd consecutive year that IPC leads in any one of the three truck categories (IPC led Category 5 sales in 1997 and 1998, while it began its dominance in Category 3 sales in 1999).

Just like in 2018, IPC’s strongest suit in 2019 was its sales performance in Category 3, where it retained its 55% market share, accounting for 4,241 units of the total 7,660 light-duty trucks sold. IPC likewise emerged the leader in Category 4 sales, accounting for 1,566 of the 4,426 medium-duty trucks sold for a 35.38% market share.

In Category 5 (heavy duty), IPC landed a strong second with 472 units sold for a market share of 33%.

Hino Motors Philippines, IPC’s closest competitor in Category 3 sales, managed to sell 1,593 units for a 20.8% share of the market. In Category 4 sales, the competition between Isuzu and runner-up Hino was tighter, with the latter selling 1,217 units for a 27.5% share. Hino dominated Category 5 by selling 563 heavy-duty trucks out of the total 1,431 sold for a 39.3% market share. In overall sales, Hino came in second with 3,665 total sales, for a 26.1% share. Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corp. came in third with 1,583 total sales, or an 11.3% share.

IPC’s feat comes amid the influx of new truck brands, particularly from China.

The Isuzu brand’s biggest advantages, however, happen to be two of the most daunting obstacles for these newcomers to overcome: reputation and after-sales service.

Mario Ojales, IPC department head for dealer sales (commercial vehicles), explained to Velocity: “Truck buyers still trust our products because of their known durability, fuel efficiency, and higher resale value. We also have the most number of dealerships nationwide (45 and counting) that can service and repair their trucks, and these dealerships maintain an extensive parts inventory. Then we have the mobile clinic trucks that can do site servicing.

“To top it all, we have well-trained Truck Elite Sales Executives who can find solutions to our customers’ needs. This specialized sales force is trained technically on how to assist our customers in purchasing their trucks.”

IPC President Hajime Koso attributed the brand’s continued success to Isuzu’s global reputation as a leading truck maker, the durability and reliability of its trucks, and the full after-sales service of an extensive nationwide dealership network.

“By being responsible partners, IPC does not just supply world-class vehicles, but also provides solutions to meet customers’ business needs. Their growth is essential to IPC’s growth, the development of the Philippine transport sector, and of the economy in general. Hence, we provide total support to our partners’ businesses with great products and after-sales support,” he said.