Innovation path crucial to truckmakers’ future: researcher

ACA Research says customer focus and IT offerings are important components at present

Innovation path crucial to truckmakers’ future: researcher
Isuzu’s telematics innovations gain praise

Truckmakers must continue to innovate during tough times for the economy, a research organisation warns.

And, after giving so much to the carmakers, the truckmakers may be getting something back strategically.

"Manufacturers are at a significant crossroads, searching for both strategies that can differentiate themselves in an increasingly competitive marketplace and the changes that are necessary to underpin their continued success beyond this period of flux," ACA’s research director, Steve Nuttall, says.

This is an ongoing theme and, considering the future of the industry, Nuttall believes it is worth revisiting some of the core themes of the Truck 2020: Transcending Turbulence report, released around five years ago.

Two key elements were highlighted in it: 

Redesigning all elements of the customer experience to focus more directly on end user needs, and

Increasing the integration of technological improvements into trucks, moving to an overarching ecosystem that can support the vehicles throughout their entire working life.

He points to the passenger vehicle market, particularly Audi’s work with industrial design firm Contiuum, and notes that "we are beginning to see a number of OEMs [original equipment makers] turning to design thinking to create end-to-end customer-centric experiences".

"This recognition of the importance of the customer’s purchase and usage journey can also be applied to the trucking industry, particularly in terms of product commoditisation in the light truck segment and the significant technological shift that is taking place," Nuttall adds.

On the second point, he sees telematics is the key element that ties together technological change and customer experience and provides OEMs the opportunity to differentiate and deliver fully integrated solutions that address customers core business needs. 

Truck manufacturers are beginning to introduce their telematics offerings into the Australian market place.

"For example, Isuzu's most recent campaigns promoting the benefits of their systems centre on their telematics offering. And Isuzu’s commitment to innovation is certainly not hindering sales, the GX and Giga series models have helped push Isuzu to third place in the heavy duty category, with an impressive 157.7 per cent increase in sales year on year to date," Nuttall says.

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