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Sathosa Motors - the market leader for 'ISUZU' and 'OPEL'

By Gayani Perera

The origin of Sathosa Motors PLC goes back to the year 1962, where in which it was successful in securing the ISUZU agency. Later the company became public quoted in the year 1992 where 60% of the organization’s issued capital was acquired by the C-Itoh (Itochu) Corporation of Japan. Currently the company is the agents of the popular brands ISUZU Commercial Trucks and OPEL Passenger Vehicles. ISUZU is the number one brand in Sri Lanka when it comes to commercial trucks. The Sunday Times spoke to Deshamanya Tilak Gunasekera, Executive Director of Sathosa Motors PLC, to find out more about the business and their future plans.

"The ISUZU brand has been in the market for the past 47 years and we are currently holding the number one position for this brand where we control over 35% of the total market share of the ISUZU light and heavy commercial vehicles. Technically the ISUZU brand is far superior to that of other brands available in the market at present. Our most recent launch is the 'ISUZU Reward' trucks. The ISUZU Reward comes with the latest SEE technology in which it specializes in the areas of safety, economy as well being environmentally friendly. This vehicle also includes a range of other value additions, which are a roomy cabin, remote control doors, power windows, central locking etc., thus providing a truck that allows you the benefits of a passenger car. This is what sets it apart from the rest of the trucks available in the market at present. The ISUZU brand is also very economical, where it has the capacity to run without an engine overhaul up to 400,000 kilometres or more, and in addition to this it also has a very high resale value in today's market", says Mr. Gunasekera.

Deshamanya Tilak Gunasekera, Executive Director of Sathosa Motors PLC

Sathosa Motors has tied up with leading banks to offer customers leasing facilities. The company's customer base mainly comprises of the top segment of the market that are financially sound and reputed organizations in the industry. Sathosa Motors also offers the ISUZU range of pickups which include the two-wheel and four-wheel drive versions as well as the single cab version. However due to the fact of very high taxes being charged with regards to the importing of vehicles, many importers in the motor trade have been discouraged to conduct business.

Speaking about their future plans Mr. Gunasekera said, "We are hoping to open branches in the North and East areas of the county in the future. We have already identified distributors for the Jaffna and Kilinochchi areas for this purpose. These markets are ideal for our ISUZU brand, for which I feel there will be a high demand. Therefore we will be mainly focusing on markets as such as this to increase our market share. However, we are not at present focusing on a major expansion drive as our intention is to provide a superior service and expand according to market demand and the economic environment of the country."

In order to take the motor trade industry forward according to Mr. Gunasekera the government should step forward to support the industry by easing off the high vehicle taxes that are currently imposed with regards to the importation of vehicles. As Sri Lanka is a small country with a small income, people have their limitations when it comes to spending or investing. Also if the government imposed a lesser duty on the smaller cars, investing in vehicles can be made much more affordable to the average individual and therefore we would not have to rely on public transport so much.

By allowing concessions as such as this, the government too would be relieved of the burden of having to invest heavily in the regard. "We have set a clear vision in our organization, and that is to conduct our business operations in an ethical and systematic manner whilst complying with the state laws and regulations. The government should support the Motor Vehicle Trade with proper and favourable policies for its existence and sustainability," concluded Mr. Gunasekera.

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