Isuzu’s Freightpack line-up has been designed to support Australian supply chain businesses that require the latest in pre-bodied solutions. It’s for this reason the leading commercial vehicle manufacturer expects it will be extremely competitive following its spotlight at the Brisbane Truck Show.
Australia, according to World Bank data reported on by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is the fifth fastest growing population in the world. Three quarters of this growth is anticipated to take place in concentrated urban centres, specifically in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth.
With billions of treasury dollars being allocated towards urban congestion and infrastructure, a much larger domestic market for commercial and industrial interests is certain to increase the size of the labour force. Isuzu, the leading commercial vehicle manufacturer in Australia, has built its brand on understanding the dictates of market demand and in the case of its new Freightpack F-Series range, is equipping the final mile options for its customers with another compelling locally-developed medium-duty offering.
Having the Freightpack as part of the Ready to Work range is one way Isuzu has sought to encourage its uptake among operators, who might have otherwise opted for a light-duty truck. According to Ben Chamberlin, Product Manager, Isuzu Australia Limited, that’s certainly been, during the development of the F Series, one of the key factors. It’s a move the company first projected back in 2017 with the release of the NNR Vanpack.
“We’ve been looking to extend the ‘immediacy’ of the turn-key approach into this segment for some time,” he says. “For Isuzu Trucks, the claim of immediacy isn’t merely a gimmick though, and that’s important to note. We have the spec, we have the features and we have the volume – with the F Series Freightpack, under the Ready to Work banner, they really are ready when you are as our sales campaign suggests.”
Ready to Work, as an expanding range, fits in with a broader scope in which Isuzu is actively committed to providing answers to user-needs across the transport market. The more recent continuation of the NLS and NPS Servicepack X models further confirms its strategic targeting of the ute market.
In the growing final mile category, the Freightpack approach, according to Ben, is about continuing to supply targeted and specific models designed to support Australian freight business.
“In respect of freight, the more options that are made available for our customers, the better served the last mile challenges will be, especially in and around our capital cities,” he says. “The move to pre-bodied freight solutions is an extension of our broader Ready to Work approach, and to that end, availability and speed to market are the key selling points from our perspectives.”
Achieving efficiencies, no matter how small, have informed recalibrations and new features Isuzu anticipates will improve productivity in the yard and at the point-of-delivery. All curtainsiders, as a result, come with quick release latches of which the original equipment manufacturer claims saves 90 seconds per load, allowing operators to conserve up to 15 minutes across a day, time previously lost. Ben says such considerations have evolved directly through feedback from fleets and customers.
“They’ve indicated their desire for operational productivity features. The latches were selected to deliver on this. Once the daily time saving is taken into account and then added up over a year and across a fleet of trucks, the efficiency dividend is significant,” he says. “It’s these achievable, cost effective efficiencies that we have focused on with the Freightpack range.”
Other improvements include driver safety enhancements like the LED lighting kits and the illuminated step and grab handle safety kits that Isuzu has added into the F Series body package.
“Many aspects of this build have been specced-up to achieve a longer lasting, more durable and efficient product lifecycle,” says Ben.
Satellite navigation, a must for negotiating busy, built-up and newly developed urban environments, is now issued as standard on the F Series. Commonality of parts and the use of componentry specc’d throughout Isuzu’s well-honed approach to aftersales delivery, solidifies what the company knows is a complete package with multiple variants to cater to a range of needs.
“Overall, it’s the sum of the whole with the F Series platform,” Ben says. “We expect that line-up to be extremely competitive for these very reasons.”
Multiple engine and transmission configurations are offered to satisfy a diverse range of freight tasks. The clean 260PS 6-cylinder engine with Diesel Oxidisation Catalyst, available in both 210PS and 240PS, features an intercooled turbo and, according to Isuzu, is the only medium duty engine on the market that does not require Particulate Filters (DPD/DPF) or Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR). Especially suited to high idle tasks, power take-off and the frequent stopping and starting of urban applications.
The introduction, what’s more, of a torque converter to the AMT to enhance its responsiveness, especially from standing starts, increases torque at low RPM by up to 45 per cent. More than 37 models across the two-pedal offering, come with either torque converter AMT or Allison automatic transmissions.
Despite a steady downward trend in medium-duty truck sales in recent years, Ben, understands market segments ebb and flow in accordance with changing customer needs and the nature of the freight task.
“A fear years ago was the heavy market had contracted, now we’re seeing movements in medium duty,” he says. “There will be an ongoing role for medium duty trucks in Australia given our unique operations conditions and landscape and the requirements for general freight in metro, regional and intrastate transport tasks.