Isuzu Truck (UK) – the distributor of light and heavy commercial vehicles – and Isuzu UK – the importer of the Isuzu D-Max pick-up – have joined forces with four other manufacturers to become partners of ‘Van Excellence’, the award winning accreditation scheme pioneered by the Freight Transport Association (FTA) to encourage high standards of van operation and driving.
As Keith Child, marketing director at Isuzu Truck explains, "With lighter weight vehicles there is much confusion and a myriad of rules and regulations regarding towing. The requirement of an Operator’s Licence and the use of tachographs are just two of the many issues that are often misunderstood. Both the Isuzu N35.150 3.5t Grafter and the Isuzu D-Max pick-up have impressive towing capabilities and there is a considerable overlap between the customers of Isuzu Truck and Isuzu UK. The combined expert knowledge and joint dealer expertise that is shared between both companies will provide invaluable input to the ongoing development of the Van Excellence programme. We want the Isuzu brand to be recognised as providers of expert advice regarding towing rules and regulations."
William Brown, General Manager at Isuzu UK, added: "I am pleased that Isuzu Truck and Isuzu UK are supporting the FTA’s efforts to raise the standards of van operators in the UK. Of the 2,431 Isuzu pick-ups bought in 2011, 80 per cent were fitted with tow bars. While every driver is responsible for their own safety and that of other road users, there is a need for drivers of commercial vehicles carrying or towing heavy loads, for example, to be equipped with the appropriate additional skills. I am confident that the Van Excellence programme will help improve the image of van drivers as its efforts to promote higher driving standards gain traction."
With its 3.5t Grafter range, Isuzu Truck has built up a substantial knowledge bank with regards to the legislation covering the use of tachographs and the towing of lightweight trailers. The vehicle’s towing capacity is market leading at 3.5 tonnes with a designed gross train weight of 7.0 tonnes – meaning it can tow a trailer weighing as much as the prime mover – 3.5 tonnes. Obviously licensing rules and tachograph regulations will apply. Plus the company’s unique approach to its customer CARE programme, operating through a progressive and experienced dealer network, will play a pivotal role in the planned work with fleet operators and the FTA.
The all-new Isuzu D-Max has a payload capacity of over 1,000 kgs and a braked towing capacity of 3,000 kgs*. And it is the first Isuzu pick-up that can be fitted with an integrated tachograph. Isuzu is unique amongst the pick-up brands in the UK to focus its sales activities on commercial customers, meaning it has developed a wealth of experience of owner-drivers and fleets in the construction, agriculture and other rural industry sectors.
Commenting on the new relationship, Mark Cartwright, FTA’s head of vans and light commercial vehicles said, "We have developed a strong and supportive relationship with both Isuzu Truck and Isuzu UK during the development of the Van Excellence scheme. By becoming partners of the scheme, this allows them to demonstrate their support for van operators and their drivers as well as demonstrating their commitment to high standards of support service for accredited fleets in vehicle acquisition and the after sales market."