How ISUZU Dealer, SV Prestige Auto, Stays On Top
Isuzu in Malaysia is the top gun in the commercial vehicle market. For the past four years, it has maintained its stronghold as well as an increase in market share. With premier dealers such as SV Prestige Sdn Bhd in Puchong, a town in the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, it has established itself as a force to be reckoned with.
‘SV’ stands for Seremban Victory, where the company has its roots. Seremban is a town located about an hour’s drive from Malaysia’s capital city. Under the group are other brands such as Nissan, Subaru and Fuso.
SV has been a top dealer for the past two years. Slightly more than a year ago, the showroom and service centre were at different locations. The new location, which we are at today, combines sales, aftersales and parts under one roof.
We spoke to Paramjit Singh, the Service Manager at the Puchong outlet.
A: Could you tell a bit about yourself and how you started in this line?
PS: Well, I started many years ago. I was with Ssangyong for nine years. With the Isuzu brand, it has been five years, though I was with another dealer for a couple of years prior to joining SV Prestige. This December, it will be three years with SV Prestige.
A: That’s a wealth of experience you have there.
PS: Yes, there’s a lot of experience gained over the years but you must constantly keep learning and then you can share it with others.
A: We understand that your company is the top dealer in the region. How did this come about?
PS: We place a lot of emphasis on professionalism. From our customer service counter right to the back where we service the vehicles, we have to uphold the image of being professional. Not only that, our mannerism has to follow that too.
A: Which is your top-seller in the line-up?
PS: The D-Max is the best seller. 70% of sales are to companies and 30% for personal use. Many of them purchase the D-max because it’s big and safer on the road, and you get good mileage. It is followed by our trucks: the one- and three-tonne.
A: There are a lot of other brands coming in from China? Do you see them as competition?
PS: See, the thing is that there are people are sceptical about the parts and reliability. In the five years I have been with Isuzu, I have never seen any major breakdowns or major repairs. The engines are built extremely tough. I wouldn’t deny that there are people who would go for other brands but at the end of the day, many customers run businesses and for businesses, any delay caused by breakdowns or repairs cost time and money.
A: There are many workshops out there that offer service packages too. How do you differentiate yourself from others?
PS: First and foremost, we are a 3S outlet and we maintain certain standards that are different from the ‘kedai bawah pokok’ (fly-by-night workshops). They will only change engine oil and oil filter. That’s all. The diesel filter, axle oil, transmission oil, air filter, they don’t recommend or even worse, don’t think about it! So, this kind of negligence compounds the damage to a vehicle.
Some of the so-called ‘mechanics’ from these shops don’t even know there has to be checks and changes for these parts. But over here, we conduct periodic checks on a vehicle and everything is recorded in a system.
A: Any experience that you’ve encountered that you can share?
PS : We trade in trucks and before we can go ahead with a trade-in, we have to check everything. You wouldn’t believe it, some of the trucks have a burning smell from the axle oil when it is drained and this eventually becomes sludge. The oil had not been changed in years! And this is because they haven’t been serviced at a proper service centre. There are many others.
Gearbox oil is about 4 litres and axle oil are only about 3 litres plus and it doesn’t cost much. Why try to save on that where it may cause irreplaceable damage?
All Isuzu warranty claims are online. There are claims done but sometimes these vehicles are not serviced properly or follow the periodic timetable at Isuzu; they’re just taken to any random shop to be serviced. Once there is a problem, they come back to Isuzu. I’m sorry, but by that time it is too late; the person or company has no service record history and of course the claim has to be rejected.
A : In terms of driving, do drivers encounter any differences?
PS : The newer trucks are all electronically controlled and electronically injected with speed limit cut-off. Some drivers complain ‘my older truck can go faster’, ‘the new ones are slower’, ‘my truck can go 120 km/h’ and so on.
Some even asked to remove the speed limit cut-off. I say ‘NO’. I tell them: ‘Look at the side of the door: it says the limit is 100km/h. Follow that. You are driving a truck, not a car, and there is a speed limit to adhere to for trucks. Even some cars have their speed cut off at certain limits. The speed limit does not affect the power; you get the torque and horsepower but once it reaches 100 or 110 km/h, you can press the pedal all you want, but it will maintain at that speed.
All this is a good move. Of course, maintenance is slightly higher because it is electronically controlled. Even the fuel pump is an electronic fuel pump; there are sensors and valves. So, if your fuel filter is dirty, your truck can still be driven and you can even fill up with fuel BUT it will be sucking in all the rubbish from your fuel filter into your pumps and injectors. The fuel filter is there to filter a certain amount of dirt, but if it is clogged, no matter how much is sucked out, there still be dirt stuck inside.
We’ve read and heard in the news of trucks ramming into cars and pedestrians, and this, that or the other not functioning; all because it is not serviced and maintained properly. Our trucks come with three full service coupons and three labour coupons. Proper maintenance with the authorised service centre IS a safety measure.
A: How do you retain customers here?
PS: These issues highlighted are just a small number. The vast majority of customers or companies have been buying trucks the whole time. So it is not their first time purchasing a truck. Having said that, some companies may have, through their experience, encountered unpleasant incidents at these so-called ‘service centres’. Most customers and companies prefer to follow a proper schedule and return to a proper service centre where you have everything recorded.
The aftersales is important. Just like one would say: ‘Buying a car is easy, but maintaining it is the hard part’. We have to ensure we provide the best service to our customers.
A: By the way, how many people do you have working with you in your department?
PS: I have six colleagues with me: four technicians and two service advisors. We have a chief mechanic who is a technician certified by Isuzu, so that makes things easier for us as well as our customers, as they know we employ the best people. As for sales, Mr. Lucas is in charge of that division where they have about six sales personnel. Many of them are young and have the drive to excel.
A: And how do you manage them?
PS: Well, basically we all come here to work and earn a wage and grow at the same time. I tell them that during working hours, 8.30am-5.30pm, give your commitment. After work, we will not disturb you but during work, just do your job. Through my years of experience, I know who is play acting or those who work without much hoo-haa but always give their commitment. For me, it’s very simple, if you work, you get good appraisal. I do their appraisal so I know who is doing work and who is not. After all, we want to be the best in this business.
A: With so much on your plate, how do you unwind?
PS: I like to travel and see new places. In fact, my family and I are going on a holiday next month – driving all the way to Phuket and then to Krabi and a few more places before heading back to Kuala Lumpur.
A: Sounds like an adventure.
PS: Yup, life is an adventure.
If you’re keen on purchasing an Isuzu, be it for business or pleasure, SV Prestige is the place to go to: Lot P2 & P4, Jalan Bandar Tujuh Belas, Pusat Bandar Puchong, 47160 Puchong, Selangor, Malaysia. Tel : +603-8082 1211 / +603-8062 9880