CAL Isuzu, New Zealand’s largest independent Isuzu dealership, is set to build a new $22 million dealership and workshop in East Tamaki and a new $12m dealership and workshop in Whangarei.
Tenders for construction open soon with construction expected to begin in mid-2022 with hopes both new facilities will be fully operational in early 2023. The Whangarei operation will also grow its team numbers from three to around 12 once the facility is completed.
CAL Isuzu owner and managing director Ashok Parbhu says the new modern facilities will help better serve the needs of customers.
“From the time my late brother Raman started this trucking business in 1987, we worked to a single idea: ‘Customers for life’.
“We didn’t just want to sell someone a truck; we wanted our company and theirs to be partners for the long haul. Which begged the question: What inspires someone to keep giving you their business for 20 years or more? The answer is brilliant, brilliant service.”
CAL Isuzu has 187-strong staff and together they service 55% of the Isuzu truck market. As a point of difference, it’s the only independent dealership with a large-scale engineering business that can build and modify trucks.
“Everyone who owns a truck is in business to make money. The truck is their number one asset. The better the truck, the better their business runs,” Parbhu says.
“That’s why we work hard upfront to understand exactly how a person needs their truck to function. If we can discern that, we can nail the specs. We’ll sometimes even suggest features a client hadn’t considered.
“Some of the best feedback we ever get is, ‘I wasn’t sure I needed that feature, but it turns out I really do!’. That response is gold at CAL Isuzu.”
The new facilities will feature state-of-the-art technology to help build and modify trucks to customer requirements down to the finest detail. Or, if a customer gets the specs wrong, it will give the team the option of taking the truck back to quickly rebuild it.
While many businesses have tightened spending during the pandemic, Parbhu says the time is right to do the opposite.
“When the first lockdown occurred, people were spooked and cancelled their orders with us. Materials were also in short supply. But rather than shrink our operations, I thought CAL Isuzu should work smarter and take advantage of the new landscape.”
Before the COVID outbreak, Parbhu had been working with a developer to lease new hi-tech facilities in Auckland. As the pandemic pressure mounted, the developer pulled out, which presented CAL Isuzu with an opportunity.
“With the developer gone, my leadership team had a rethink. We felt the need to secure our future from the vagaries of the property market, so we asked ourselves, what if we owned the land in both Auckland and Whangarei and building instead of leasing them? After weighing up the pros and cons, we decided to look for land,” he says.
With land secured for both facilities, both projects will soon be out for tender and ground will be broken midway through 2022.
Parbhu says it’s exciting times for CAL Isuzu and is just the latest step in the company’s 34-year journey.
“There’s a saying. ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day, but they were laying bricks every hour.’ That’s how I feel about our new trucking facilities. What we’re doing now is the continuation of what my late brother Raman started in our parent’s backyard in 1987. Way back then, our motto was, ‘Better Service’. Through nearly 35 years, we’ve never lost sight of that.
“The kudos belongs to our people. It’s because of them that the business has had such success and is gearing up for even greater things. I want them to know that. Our new buildings will be a testament to their work. They are also their reward. I want them to enjoy working in a place that allows them to do their best work.”