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Isuzu Trucks Australia’s incoming new-generation N Series light truck is in for a big transmission upgrade, but can the brand maintain its reliable reputation after moving to a dual-clutch automatic?
Of course, the brand believes so, with Isuzu Trucks Australia Product Manager of Light-Duty and Ready-To-Work, Jeff Gibson, telling CarsGuide at this year’s Japan Mobility Show dependability was paramount in the new nine-speed unit.
“Absolutely [the new transmission will be reliable], and I guess why that’s taken so long to develop this,” he said.
“It’s been in testing for a very long time, and we are about to bring it to Australia to do more evaluations, and actually, unique calibrations for Australia as well.”
The N Series light truck is by far and away the most popular option in its segment, accounting for 27.9 per cent of share to the end of October this year or 6129 sales.
Isuzu’s next nearest rivals in the market are the Hino 300 Series (2487 sales YTD) and the Fuso Canter (2414 sales YTD).
Up until now, the N Series has persisted with an automated manual solution for buyers wanting to avoid three pedals, which has been criticised for being slow to shift and jerky.
But the benefit to the outgoing set-up has been its reliability and simplicity, meaning less down time for operators if there is a problem with the transmission.
Gibson is confident this trait will pass onto the new-generation truck and nine-speed dual-clutch automatic, despite the added complexities and woes that faced the technology early on when introduced to passenger cars like the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf.
“[We’re] very excited about the wet-clutch solution as opposed to the dry-clutch solution that some competitors haven’t succeeded with,” he said.
“I am very confident with our R&D team.
“[It will] absolutely [be as reliable, robust and dependable], and faster shifting.”
Isuzu’s new N Series is set to touch down in Australia late next year, while an all-electric version is also planned for a 2025 release.
Isuzu Trucks is the most popular commercial brand in Australia with more than double the market share of its next nearest rival, a position it has held for 34 years since 1989.
For comparison, Toyota has only been the number one passenger car brand for 20 years.