Isuzu Motors South Africa has officially launched its consolidated truck and bakkie manufacturing plant after an investment of some R27-million.

The project involved the relocation of the Japanese firm’s truck production facilities from Kempston Road to Isuzu Motors SA’s headquarters in Struandale, Port Elizabeth, which means all bakkie and truck manufacturing now takes place under one roof.

The relocation follows the merging of Isuzu’s truck and bakkie business in February 2018 after General Motors ceased operations in South Africa at the end of 2017.

Michael Sacke, Isuzu Motors SA chief executive officer and managing director, said the move allowed the optimisation of shared resources.

“We started with regular production of our market-leading trucks at their new home in Struandale in January 2019. These changes have resulted in greater efficiencies in terms of our manufacturing support resources and an opportunity to improve the application of our lean manufacturing system,” said Sacke.

The final truck at Kempston Road rolled off the production line on 30 November 2018, ending a 21-year run.

Johan Vermeulen, Isuzu Motors SA's manufacturing and supply chain executive, said it took a number of months to study, plan and execute the truck plant move.

“Materials are now stored closer to the truck line which reduces travel distances substantially. This improves efficiency and eliminates waste and unnecessary cost. We also used the opportunity to work together with our source plant to change the way that material is packed, providing us with easier access to the correct material at the correct time. We also came up with some innovative solutions with regards to material storage,” said Vermeulen.Isuzu plant