Nikki King OBE and CEO of Isuzu Truck (UK) Limited, has announced a deal with Isuzu Motors Limited Japan, in which one of the largest truck manufacturers in the world has acquired the total shareholding in Isuzu Truck (UK) Limited for an undisclosed sum.
Isuzu Truck (UK) was formed in 1996. Nikki explains: "We established the Isuzu Truck commercial vehicle brand in a crowded marketplace. We concentrated on offering award-winning customer service with highly-specified technical training for our dealers and some of the best trucks available within the Isuzu product range. We’ve grown from strength-to- strength and established a nationwide group of 60 dealers strategically located throughout England, Scotland and Wales."
The company managed to successfully negotiate a management buy-out from RAC PLC in 2004, with Isuzu Motors Limited Japan retaining a 15% share in the company. Nikki recalls: "When we bought the company we offered share options to all of our employees of the time. We are delighted that through the sale of the company to Isuzu many of our long-term employees will benefit with a surprise cheque of at least four figures.
"Like many other UK companies, we were seriously affected at the start of the recession in 2008. We did make a few redundancies but survived the worst period by the board of directors taking a pay cut and our employees accepting a wage freeze. Since then we’ve been able to grow and in the last year alone our sales increased by 13% with a turnover of just over £24 million."
Nikki continues: "This is the ideal time for us to sell the company shareholding to Isuzu. I wanted to secure the future of the company and the business is in great shape, we’ve just celebrated a stunning year’s performance. However, it seems logical that ITUK should join its natural family and be given the tools to grow even more."
Nikki, who is 65, will be staying on as Managing Director until August this year to ensure the handover is effected smoothly and it is planned she will have some involvement in a non-executive capacity post retirement. Isuzu’s Masayuki Murata will become Chairman of the company and will divide his time between the UK and Belgium where he retains his role as Chairman of Isuzu Europe. Previously Murata was CEO of Isuzu Australia where Isuzu has had market leadership for well over 20 years.
ITUK currently employs 53 people and its headquarters is based at Isuzu House in Hatfield.
Continues Nikki: "For me and the management team at ITUK, this development in the company is ‘nirvana’. To have the strength and power of a major international company behind us is fantastic. To know the company is safe with an exciting future and all the wonderful people who have worked so hard for us can be secure in their employment with the potential to pursue a wider choice of careers, is really mind-blowing."
Isuzu Truck UK has held its slot as no.3 in the UK marketplace for the past three years in registrations of 7.5 tonne trucks. The company’s current product range consists of rigid chassis/cabs from 3.5t GVW known as the ‘Grafter’ range with the ‘Forward’ range at 5.0, 6.2, 7.5 and 11.00 tonnes GVW. All UK Isuzu trucks are manufactured in Japan and assembled in Europe. All ITUK sold products are backed by ITUK’s industry-unique, award-winning, customer service programme CARE: Customer facing, Always listening, Reliable and trustworthy, Efficient and friendly.
Established almost a century ago, Isuzu Motors Limited Japan is a world leading truck manufacturer. IML currently produces around 400,000, light to medium weight commercial vehicles, every year and its products sell in a vast majority of countries throughout the world. The company is also a world-leader in diesel engine technology and manufacturing.
Speaking on behalf of Isuzu Motors Limited is Masayuki Murata, Chairman of Isuzu Motors Europe; "This has been a very exciting acquisition for Isuzu. This is only the second wholly-owned distributor that Isuzu has acquired. The first was Isuzu Australia, a highly successful company that has enjoyed market leadership for 24 years. I played my part in that company’s success because I was its managing director for a number of years. Now to have a wholly-owned distributor in Europe gives Isuzu a fantastic opportunity to gain an even greater understanding of the UK and European markets. ITUK’s passion for excellent customer service and CARE is truly admired by the senior management within Isuzu and I am personally looking forward to witnessing this first-hand and working with the highly professional people within the ITUK team."