In a bold move that arguably surprised a number of stakeholders in the OEM truck sector, Isuzu Truck South Africa announced that it has acquired Port Elizabeth-based KANU Commercial Body Construction (PTY) Ltd and Automotive Chassis Technologies (ACT)  (PTY) Ltd in a 100% buyout of each business effective August 2015.

This transaction will see Isuzu Truck South Africa evolve its local operations from that of a traditional commercial vehicle Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) to that of an ‘Enterprise’ type of business; which now boasts the capacity to initiate and build tailored trucks according to its clients’ specific needs.

“This acquisition complements our growth strategy, as we believe that KANU and ACT will definitely enhance our current business structure. The move to acquire these entities will centralise the process of buying our trucks where everything will be processed from one central point of contact,” explained Isuzu Truck South Africa COO Craig Uren.

He said that the directors of Isuzu Truck South Africa, with full support of Isuzu leadership in Japan, have developed new strategies and plans with structures in place to lead the company into this new business era.

“Our scope of work and business is no longer only focused on what leaves the factory gate. Together with our dealers and supplier base, Isuzu Truck South Africa will have a more integrated relationship with current and future customers in the life of their trucks,” Uren added.

The COO explained that Mr Sipho Sandla would spearhead the bodybuilding operation, as General Manager of KANU/ACT in Port Elizabeth, while outgoing owner of KANU, Mr Tony Wright, will stay at the company in an advisory capacity for a minimum of 12-months to ensure a smooth transition of operations.

In 1991 Sandla graduated with a National Higher Diploma in Mechanical Engineering (B.Tech) and has been working as an engineer in the automotive manufacturing sector for over 23 years, boasting vast experience in all aspects of the truck assembly line.

“I spent a number of years on the production line, building cars and commercial vehicles, and I am looking to apply my knowledge in an exceptional manner as the GM of KANU/ACT,” Sandla said.

He added that he is looking forward to meeting the challenges ahead, however remains confident that the KANU/ACT team is able to execute like clockwork.

“At KANU we don’t just weld a few sheets of metal together and call it a body. We get to know our customer by accommodating his or her requirements down to the fundamentals in order to provide the best possible business solution. For instance we are building trucks with cranes, trucks with water tankers and we have the ability to build a truck with both the crane and water tank on board,” Sandla expounded.

He explained that KANU/ACT offers in-house research and development of payload solutions for any type of transport business – be it on-road or off-road.

The company also homologates each any every truck that passes through its workshop, and registers the custom trucks with the NATIS authorities on behalf of the customer.

“We’re looking to offer unique solutions, sometimes solutions that seem unimaginable.  Recently we built truck carriers for Isuzu Truck South Africa, which will be used to transport its N Series trucks from PDC centres to showrooms around the country. Truck transporters aren’t a normal sight on the road, and we are one of the first bodybuilders in the world to offer such a configuration,” Sandla added.

He said that Isuzu Truck South Africa’s investment in KANU/ACT would ensure that it remains the leading cab-over truck brand in the country, as that it’s able to meet more than just a demand for a truck – it’s (Isuzu Trucks) able to offer complete business enterprise solutions at point of sale.

“Isuzu Truck South Africa will continue to be one of the major contributors in the Eastern Cape’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and we believe that every truck we sell into the market possesses an economic opportunity with great return on investment. The more we sell, the more economies we create, and with that, the creation of new job opportunities,” Uren concluded.

Isuzu Truck South Africa recently hosted its TRK’eneur event at Gerotek where it displayed most of what KANU/ACT can build, while it also allowed its fleet owners to get into the drivers seat of some of its latest AMT, Automatic and 4×4 trucks.

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