Isuzu heads towards its 30-year record of market leadership with further refinements for the FX and FY
Sales records come and go, but, in the case of Japanese truck maker Isuzu, the company has achieved something that is unmatched by any other manufacturer, in any segment of vehicle manufacturing.
Achieving a continual number-one spot for 29 years consecutively as the leading vehicle supplier in the entire commercial vehicle market is testimony to the effort and ability expended by its Australian management team. Throughout the history of the brand in the Australian market, the Isuzu team has continued to fine tune the individual model specifications to keep the various product lines highly competitive, and supported this expertise with one of the strongest and most efficient customer service support systems operated within the truck and transport industry.
Isuzu’s FX and FY ranges of heavy-duty trucks were first introduced to this market back in 2008, with the 325 hp FX models subsequently uprated to 350 hp and Euro V in 2011. Further updates in 2013 saw the introduction of the twin-steer 8×4 and 10×4 FY range with its load sharing front-suspension, industry-best American driveline and highly competitive tare mass.
These models operate in the highly competitive world that covers a broad range of businesses and applications. They seldom attract extreme customisation, unlike the long-distance conventional prime movers running interstate, but they provide the highest level of productivity and the lowest possible total cost of operation. When looking for a simple description of the reasoning behind their purchase, it’s best summed up as being that they go out and do the job and don’t cause their owners many concerns.
With the latest updates to the FX and FY range of heavy-duty trucks, Isuzu has delivered an increase in towing capacity combined with leading-edge technology and engineering features to boost efficiency and deliver a stress-free driving experience.
The best term to describe the update is ‘more’ – more of everything. More wheelbases, more models with automatic transmissions, more GCM, more technology and more engineering improvements.
Isuzu Australia Limited’s (IAL) director of sales and marketing, Andrew Harbison, said Isuzu engineers were aware of the need to provide cutting-edge technology while retaining the reliability our customers have come to expect.
Both the FX and FY offer impressive GVM and GCM ratings, and the updated range benefits from the introduction of eight new models to the FX range and an additional three to the FY range.
With a range of wheelbases and suspension configurations in both model ranges, as well as the availability of the Allison 4430 automatic transmission in most models, Isuzu has responded to the demands of the market by ensuring the specification options are targeted to key heavy-duty applications.
Some of the broad improvements include new coolant temperature gauges, relocated height sensors, uprated alternator (to 90 A), and standardising tail lamp connectors and ABS connectors for towing across various models.
Other changes include the FYJ, FXZ, and FXY auto medium-wheelbase models with drivelines specified for short distance construction applications, and the associated stop/start, low-speed driving.
Satellite navigation systems are now a standard inclusion across all FX and FY models, combined in a package that includes map updates and truck-centric information to help operators and drivers get the best return on their time.
“Isuzu has chosen to maintain the competitive power and torque ratings of the popular 6UZ1-TC engine, even when fitted with an Allison automatic, by selecting the higher capacity HD Series transmission. The result is superior performance, towing capacity and durability for Isuzu operators,” said IAL chief engineer of product strategy, Simon Humphries.
“All FX 4×2 and 6×2 models now feature a 38,000 kg GCM rating, regardless of transmission, while all FX 6×4 and FY 8×4 and 10×4 models have a standard GCM rating of 45,000 kg,” he added.
As a snapshot of how well accepted the Isuzu product range is around the country, PowerTorque investigated some of the views of operators that have experienced the ability of the brand at firsthand.
In Mildura, Craig Lush, the founder of waste removal company, Payless Skips, reckons his Isuzu trucks are working well in an environment that often sees ambient temperatures exceeding 42 degrees Celsius.
“First and foremost, our trucks need to be reliable and comfortable, with drivers spending up to 11 hours in them each day,” he said.
“Reputation was a big thing for us. Isuzus were always at the forefront of our selection process and we eventually decided on the NPR 75-190. The fuel economy is good, and, with a GVM of 7500 kg, 140 kW @ 2600 rpm and 513 Nm @ 1600-2600 rpm, it’s got power requirements covered,” he added.
Moving up in vehicle size to the Isuzu Giga led PowerTorque to Mark Mitchell, owner and co-director of Northern New South Wales’ civil construction firm Valley Earthworks.
“We’re a multi-faceted company that does a wide range of civil construction activities, from subdivisions to carparks to bulk land cut and fill areas,” said Mark.
“Part of that is having graders, rollers, bobcats and floats so you can move gear to and from the site. We also do road construction, bulk earthworks, forestry maintenance, marine rock walls and national park roads.
“From the 60 pieces of equipment we operate, 10 of those are Isuzus – not just the Giga tippers we recently bought, but also some single-axle tippers and other vehicles – all of which have been good, reliable and competitively priced,” he said.
After adding six Isuzu Giga CXY 455 trucks to the Valley Earthworks stable of machinery last June, Mark said the vehicles were valuable assets from the moment they started work on the Grafton Gaol and Pacific Highway upgrades.
“With a GCM of 57,000 kg the Gigas are powered by the six-cylinder, 24-valve SOHC SiTEC Series II 455 engine and comfortably handle the work pulling super dog trailers. The Gigas were the right fit for Valley Earthworks – so much so, the company is awaiting the delivery of a seventh Giga,” he added.
The final comment about Isuzu comes from Interhaul Transport, based on Queensland’s Gold Coast and specialising in the supply of pre-mixed concrete.
Interhaul has been transporting concrete since 1988, and subcontracting concrete deliveries for industry-leading Nucon Concrete since 2003.
“Interhaul subcontracts ready-mixed concrete deliveries across Queensland, and my drivers are some of the hardest workers in the business,” said company founder John Polites.
When John was in the market for a new truck he chose an Isuzu FYJ 2000 8×4 agitator spec model.
The FYJ 2000 has a GVM rated at 30,000 kg, 257 kW @ 2000 rpm and 1422 Nm @ 1400 rpm, making it highly capable for a wide variety of applications in addition to the particular demands of concrete agitator work.
For the transmission, the FYJ has an Allison 4430 series six-speed automatic, while driver comfort is ensured by features like cruise control and an ISRI 6860 air-suspension seat with pneumatic lumbar support.
“The truck operates in mostly metropolitan areas, but also handles some off-road driving around worksites brilliantly,” said company driver Mike Smith.
“It negotiates heavy traffic, roundabouts, narrow streets and poorly prepared, tight access worksites with ease. The truck’s turning circle is fantastic. The heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system are also standouts. Isuzu compares very favourably with other truck brands that I’ve driven,” Mike added.
With safety a top priority for Isuzu, the FYJ also features a driver’s side airbag with seatbelt pretensioner, anti-lock braking (ABS) and Isuzu Electronic Stability Control (IESC).