Below we share some news from Btimes about the sales record breached last year by Isuzu Malaysia with its only model Isuzu D-Max that make a market share of 19% of pickup truck due to its fuel efficiency and reliability.
ISUZU D-MAX HELP BREACH 5000 UNIT RECORD OF SALES LAST YEAR – ISUZU MALAYSIA WITH 19% PICKUP TRUCK MARKET
Three years ago, Kyoya Kondo came to Malaysia as a bespectacled CEO of Isuzu Malaysia Sdn Bhd who also liked puffing a big dose of tar and nicotine.
Last Thursday, Kondo clocked out of office for the last time to return to Japan, this time without his glasses (or contact lenses) and cigarettes.
“Having had a successful lasik operation and been able to quit smoking are among the sweetest things ever happened to me during my stay in Malaysia,” Kondo said in his farewell interview with Business Times on Wednesday.
But Kondo – who did the eye surgery last year and had stopped smoking for good since 2006 – may have forgotten or perhaps understated, to include his efforts in transforming Isuzu’s business in Malaysia to his list of sweetest memories.
Three years ago, Isuzu had little to show in terms of presence and sales in Malaysia, especially in the pick-up segment dominated by other Japanese brands like Toyota, Nissan and Mitsubishi.
Starting virtually from a zero base, it now controls a nearly 20 per cent share of the segment.
Kondo helped Isuzu Malaysia enjoy double-digit annual growth since its inception in 2005. Last year, its sales hit a record high, breaching the 5,000 unit target with 5,026 vehicles sold nationwide for a market share of 19 per cent. The figure is entirely from a single model – an award-winning fuel efficient Isuzu D-Max.
“Historically, Isuzu did not have a strong presence in Malaysia. Although it is well-known, the brand did not have much value here. But we were confident of the Isuzu growth potential as the brand has an edge in diesel technology and fuel efficiency. The rest is history,” he said.
He added: “As the pioneer of Isuzu Malaysia, I am proud to see the brand making significant improvements in the country as reflected in its growing market share and image. We are number three in the market now.”
There is no real secret to the brand’s local success, Kondo said. Just strong product line-up and dealership network and of course, hard work to deliver and instil the belief in customers that “purchasing an Isuzu is a right decision”.
Specifically on its sole model, he said the D-Max’s solid sales growth is due to its impressive core features that include fuel efficiency, durability, comfort, good looks and performance.
There are more than 10,000 units of the D-Max on the local roads, he said.
Will Isuzu Malaysia be rosier without him? He has no doubt that it will.
Kondo flew back to Japan last Friday to oversee Isuzu’s sales operation in Thailand from the company’s headquarters in Tokyo.
He is not unfamiliar with Thailand, having served Isuzu there a few years ago. He had worked for the truckmaker in the Philippines too.
“The pick-up truck market in Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines is very much similar in the sense that the customers want the same thing – fuel efficient, durable and reliable vehicles.”
Did Kondo mention that completing his first ever, energy-sapping triathlon last December was another sweet Malaysian experience for him? Well, he did not really run, swim and cycle in Langkawi or Kuala Lumpur, but rather in Phuket. But still, he came from Malaysia then.