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WHILE Isuzu Australia Limited (IAL) will strengthen its network of service centres to provide maintenance support for customers in locations lacking coverage, the company has no plans to expand its number of retail centres.

Currently, IAL has 36 truck dealers in approximately 60 locations around the country, but has identified that many customers will service their vehicle at an independent mechanic due to the distance between their workplace or residence and the Isuzu dealership.

Speaking to GoAutoNews Premium at the launch of the updated N-Series truck, IAL chief engineer of product strategy Simon Humphries said an increase in dedicated service outlets was a higher priority than retail dealerships.

“Our guys in head office work with our existing dealers, and I think the area of growth that you will see in the near future are more service outlets,” he said.

He added that the brand wanted to see more customers service their vehicles through authorised outlets, with many opting to use local mechanics due to their location and convenience.

“A sizeable chunk of our trucks are not serviced by the selling dealer in one way or another, Mr Humphries said.

“Sometimes the transport fleet have their own in-house service centre and that’s fine, (but) sometimes because they’re a certain distance away from the selling dealer, they don’t have the time to take their truck back there, they go to their local guy.

“And that’s becoming an increasing challenge. Some will still do it but what we’re seeing is even the independents are becoming more specialised because they can’t keep track of all the service tools and the electronics in multiple brands, they narrow it down to maybe one or two brands that they specialise in.

“We think our dealership network can cater for them better, and dealers acknowledge that and they’re looking to establish more points around the country.”

Mr Humphries did not go into detail on now many extra outlets the brand plans to introduce or where they would be, but added that he had already seen the positive results from newly introduced outlets.

He used the example of a new outlet on Sydney’s northern beaches, which will help serve customers who have purchased trucks from Suttons Trucks, located on the southern side of the city.

“So a good example is just this month, Suttons in Arncliffe, one of the main Sydney dealers, they’re right near Sydney airport, they have got a big service centre there but they have established a service outlet in the northern beaches of Sydney, quite a distance away from Arncliffe,” he said.

“So the customer might come to buy the truck in Arncliffe, but if they’re located in the northern shores … it’s really difficult for them to take their truck back for service.

“So they’ve established the servicing outlet where the trucks are, and it’s already booked heavily.”

By Robbie Wallis