Australia’s number one overall truck market leader, Isuzu Australia Limited (IAL), said a sharp rise in popularity of two-pedal – including automatic and automated manual (AMT) – equipped trucks is helping to attract and retain more truck drivers in the workforce.
The move away from stick-shift manual transmissions across all sectors of the Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) spectrum, according to IAL, has been steadily gaining momentum over the last decade.
This year alone, the company contended, over 80 per cent of all car driver’s licence (up to 4,500kg GVM) trucks sold have been specified with a two-pedal automatic or AMT.
This is in stark contrast to around ten years ago in 2012-13 when 50 per cent of all trucks sold were specified with a manual transmission, the company claimed.
Beyond ease of use and fuel economy, IAL National Sales Manager, Les Spaltman, said this trend points to some intriguing factors within the Australian road transport industry.
“Uptime and the efficient application of equipment is something Aussie businesses do really well, but there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to the decision to specify a two-pedal transmission on a new truck,” said Spaltman.
Unpacked further, productivity, whole of life costs and most strikingly, labour retention, come under the microscope for businesses considering a truck purchase, particularly those running medium to large-sized fleets according to Spaltman.
Furthermore, he claimed Isuzu’s recently released Future of Trucking Report: The Road Ahead – the largest research study of its kind ever undertaken in Australia – confirmed Australian truck buyers and business owners are maintaining a keen eye on these factors.
“We surveyed over 1,000 road transport operators from all over the country and our research showed a direct link between the retention of labour and changing buying behaviours,” said Spaltman.
“This was particularly evident in the choice of transmission in a bid to attract and retain talent, particularly drivers – an issue that has plagued the industry since the early ‘90s,” he said.