With the reduction in Excise Duty there has been a tremendous increase in government revenue due to the increase in vehicle imports. Also the once almost lifeless vehicle industry is once again fast becoming a lucrative business where aspirations are currently at an all time high.
Ever since its inception in the year 1962, Sathosa Motors has succeeded in establishing an enviable reputation in the commercial truck segment with its brand of Isuzu commercial, heavy-duty and light-duty vehicles and pick-up trucks. The company too has experienced an upward trend in growth and profitability in business due to the reduction in taxes.
|Mr. Tilak Gunasekera
the Executive Director
of Sathosa Motors
The Isuzu brand has always been one that commands strong consumer loyalty whilst also enjoying the position as market leader in the local trucks market with regards to volume and sales. The Sunday Times Supplements Desk spoke to Mr. Tilak Gunasekera the Executive Director of Sathosa Motors who is also the Vice Chairman of the Ceylon Motor Traders’ Association to find out their latest launches to the market and the current status of their business.
"I am proud to say that all vehicle franchise holders are benefiting immensely from the reduction in Excise Duty. We at Sathosa Motors who deal in the commercial truck business too have been part and parcel of experiencing an increase in sales which is very encouraging. This economic boom has not been limited to the vehicle industry alone. I am proud to say that the country's manufacturing and economic sectors are also flourishing. Therefore I feel that the country is moving in the right direction towards a positive progressive change. What we as businessmen want however is for this positive change to be a consistent one", says Mr. Gunasekera.
The company's latest introduction to the commercial truck business is the new Isuzu N -Series REWARD which is a light duty truck that was launched in mid 2009. Ever since it entered the local market the Isuzu N-Series Reward has been successful in maintaining a steady growth in the market. This product moves away from the normal facelift model to provide the same comforts as that of a car. Technically and esthetically this model offers all the modern car-like features such as central locking, power shutters, adjustable and comfortable seats etc.
"The Isuzu N-Series REWARD has a monthly sale of 40 to 50 vehicles, which is a remarkable figure for our Sri Lankan truck market. This particular vehicle is manufactured according to Japanese environmental standards and therefore has less carbon emissions enabling it to be more fuel efficient. This particular model is more technically advanced and is therefore the most updated version of the Isuzu N-Series", further stated Mr. Gunasekera.
Sathosa Motors is currently on the lookout for established vehicle agencies with wich it hopes to build up good business relationships. The company is moving towards expansion and diversification in the future but the Isuzu brand will always be their core brand and will always dominate the market due to its low maintenance cost, exceptional comfort levels, longevity and high appreciating resale value. Whilst Indian and Chinese trucks require an engine overhaul for every 150,000 kilometres, Isuzu trucks can go for 500,000 to 600,000 kilometres. Another unique feature of the Isuzu brand is the fact that it has a long lifespan of 14 years while other substantial models may not even last for five years. Due to reasons such as this Isuzu vehicles are the most sought-after choice of fleet owners in the country.
The company is greatly focusing on the single and double cab markets and has introduced the latest versions to the local markets which are currently quite popular among various customer segments and if the demand for these products keeps increasing the company hopes to import larger quantities in the future.
"The reduction of duties on vehicles has greatly benefited the customers enabling them to purchase vehicles at a more affordable cost. I am however not totally satisfied with the prevailing duty structure as I feel that it has to decrease further. The Excise Duty applicable on Jeeps and Double Cabs is still a high percentage. I personally feel the Sri Lankan government should encourage the entry of more diesel vehicles to to the market. The main reason for this is that the customer spends less on diesel which in turn reduces the foreign exchange outflow. In developed countries a higher Excise Duty is charged on petrol vehicles as opposed to the diesel vehicles thereby cutting down on the outflow of foreign exchange from their countries. I personally feel that this policy should be practised in Sri Lanka as well", added Mr. Gunasekera.
Sathosa Motors have expanded their branch network and at present have a branch operational in Jaffna and Ampara. In the future the company hopes to open branches in Kandy, Anuradhapura and Matale as well. The Isuzu brand currently has well over 100,000 vehicles on the roads of Sri Lanka which alone speaks volumes of the brand’s high acceptance in the local market.